Rajnath demands report on BBC film

Filmmaker says no law was violated

A British documentary maker’s interview of a death row convict in December 16 gang-rape case in which he blamed the victim for the incident kicked up a controversy, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh taking a “serious view” of the issue and seeking a report from Tihar Jail officials on how the interaction was allowed.

Social media was full of outrage after the comments of Mukesh Singh in the interview, which is part of the documentary India’s Daughter directed by well-known filmmaker Leslee Udwin for British Broadcasting Corporation, was aired on an Indian channel.

The full documentary is planned to be aired on BBC along with other channels, including NDTV, on March 8 coinciding with International Women’s Day but its fate hangs in balance as Delhi Police is planning to move court to restrain the broadcast of documentary.

The filmmaker defended the interview saying the film is her attempt to examine the attitude of men towards men and that there was nothing sensational about it. The parents of the victims also reacted angrily to the remarks made by Singh in the interview as he blamed their daughter for the incident.

Udwin said she had taken permission for the interview. “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.”

As a controversy arose, the Home Minister spoke to Tihar jail Director General Alok Kumar Verma and sought a detailed report on it urgently. Verma briefed Singh about the incident and the action taken so far.

In the interview, Mukesh said the women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of male molesters. He also described the killing as an “accident” and that rape victims should “just be silent and allow the rape”.

NDTV said the documentary explores in depth the causes of the inhuman crime against Nirbhaya and what has actually changed today in India.

“Nirbhaya’s parents have spoken extensively in this documentary, which exposes the disgraceful attitude of the rapists and those who surround them. These are views in our society that need to be exposed and unambiguously condemned,” it added.

“This is a film that fights for and remembers Nirbhaya – and it honours the wishes of her parents who have seen the film. Let us all honour Nirbhaya and her parents and fight for an end to sexual exploitation and crimes with this film,” it added.

The broadcast of the documentary coincides with the launch of a worldwide ‘India’s Daughter’ campaign against sexual violence and gender inequality in New York by Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Freida Pinto and others.

In India too, the film launches a campaign to fight for justice for Nirbhaya and to raise awareness to end sexual crimes in our country, it said.

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