Storm over interview of gangrape convict in jail, Govt takes a serious view

Storm over interview of  gangrape convict in jail, Govt takes a serious view
A British film maker's interview of one of the December 16 gangrape convicts for a documentary in which he showed no remorse kicked up a storm today with Government taking a serious view of the matter and seeking an explanation from Tihar jail authorities.

The parents of the December 16, 2012 gangrape victim reacted angrily to the remarks made by Mukesh Singh in the interview where he seeks to blame their daughter for the horrific incident, calling it shameful and demanded he be hanged.

The filmmaker Leslee Udwin on her part said the film is her attempt to examine the attitude of men towards women and that there was nothing sensational in it.

Udwin also claimed she took permission from the then Director General of Tijar jail Vimla Mehra before interviewing Mukesh in the prison for BBC.

Taking the incident of the convict being interviewed in custody very "seriously", Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tihar jail Director General Alok Kumar Verma and sought a detailed report on it urgently, official sources said.

During the telephonic conversation, the DG briefed the Home Minister about the incident and the action taken so far, the sources said.

In the interview, Mukesh, who was awarded death sentence for the brutal rape and murder of the 23-year-old girl, said the women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of male molesters.

"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," he had said.Mukesh also said that had the girl and her friend not tried to fight back, the gang would not have inflicted the savage beating, which led to her death later.

Describing the killing as an "accident", he had said, "When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy."

'India's Daughter' tells the story of the Delhi gangrape incident from the perspective of the convicts and victim's parents, Udwin claimed.

The filmmaker asked people not to have pre-conceived notion about the movie, which will premiere in India on March 8 on NDTV.

"The film ends with global statistics around the world, country by country. Rape is not an Indian problem. It's a global problem," she told reporters.

As a controversy arose over permission given to interview Mukesh in Tihar jail, she said, "I wrote a letter to DG of Tihar. The DG of Tihar had to consult with MHA. The letter basically stated that it was a campaigning film. I had applied permission in May 2013 and I got the answer 'yes' in two weeks. Official permission of MHA also came. Permission from the prison was also signed."

When asked why she gave a platform to the convict, Leslee, who interviewed Mukesh in 2013, said, "That's a great pity. Indian media should highlight what is going on in their mind. You have to keep repeating it until it stops and changes.

"Do you want things to change... Why do you resist? Why did I give a platform to girl's parents? The film looks at the issue of mindset and gender inequality. The film paints a picture of a set of attitudes towards women," she added.

"The film ends with global statistics around the world, country by country. Rape is not an Indian problem. It's a global problem."

The victim's parents said crime against women is increasing because of the mindset that women should not go out at night.

"It is not a big thing for the accused to pass a statement like this. He can accuse anyone. One who is jailed for such heinous crime can pass a statement on anybody. The situation of crime against women in the country is rising because of the people opposing women to go out at night," the mother of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student observed.

"Those who advocate that rape accused should not be hanged have not gone through this. If rape accused are not hanged then it will be very unfortunate for women. I appeal to the government that rape accused should be hanged," she said.

The victim's father was equally critical of Mukesh's statement and said he had not just raised a question over his daughter but on the entire society.

"We cannot punish anyone. If I had to punish then I would have given the same punishment they gave it to my daughter. But we have law which will decide his fate. This is just not about my daughter, with his statement he has raised question on our society. If he is not hanged then anyone can rape a woman, causing a threat to the future of the country. I will contact the government and appeal to hang him," he said.

In comments that could stoke a controvery, A P Singh, one of the lawyers for the gangrape convicts, said it is "very important" that if girls want to go out in the night hours then it should be with their parents and not with their boyfriends.

He also said that if his sister or daughter was found indulging in undesirable activities he would pour petrol and set them afire.

Another defence lawyer M L Sharma said in our society girls are not allowed to go out of their homes after 8.30 in the night with any unknown person.
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