Sorry government of India, your censorship attempts are futile. Props to BBC for airing this today (originally scheduled for March 8th) in opposition to the ban, but like all BBC videos it is only viewable for people in the UK. LeakSource is mirroring it here on our own server space for everyone worldwide to view, and in case sites like YouTube decide to oblige takedown requests. Without the ban this most likely wouldn’t have become global news and ended up on LeakSource, so thanks Indian government for not hearing of the Streisand effect.
Irate over the release of a British-made documentary film on a 2012 gang rape in Delhi, India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, told Parliament on Wednesday that the Indian government would “not allow any organization to leverage such an incident and use it for commercial purpose.”
The documentary, “India’s Daughter,” features an interview with Mukesh Singh, now on death row for his role in the crime, who tried to justify the brutal attack by saying “a decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night.” Excerpts from the interview were released on Tuesday as part of an advance publicity campaign.
Things moved quickly after that. After a condemnation from the home minister, the Delhi police moved for a restraining order, and a court issued a stay banning broadcast in India of the film, which was aired Wednesday night in Britain by the BBC. A news release from the Delhi police said Mukesh Singh “has made malicious, derogatory, offensive, insulting remarks against women, causing harassment and disrepute.” The excerpts, the statement continued, “are highly offensive and have already created a situation of tension and fear amongst women in our society.”
The restraining order also bans websites from uploading or posting the interview.
“We can ban the documentary in India but there is a conspiracy to defame India and the documentary can be telecast outside,” India’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told lawmakers on Wednesday. The government is exploring how it can be blocked abroad, he said.
Sexual violence is a highly charged topic in India, and though the vast majority here had not yet seen the film on Wednesday, it was nonetheless the subject of stormy debate among activists and public intellectuals.
The author Nilanjana S. Roy warned of the “very real risk of turning a rapist into the Twitter celebrity of the day.” Kavita Krishnan, of the leftist All-India Progressive Women’s Association, saw patriarchal undertones in the advance foreign coverage for the film, describing “a sense of India as a place of ignorance and brutality toward women, that inspires both shock and pity, but also call for a rap on the knuckles from the ‘civilized world’ for its ‘brutal attitude.’ ”
Others defended the film. Shobhaa De, a popular Mumbai-based columnist, wrote that the film “must be made compulsory viewing in our schools, colleges and government offices.” And writing on the news website FirstPost, Sandip Roy, a journalist and novelist, questioned why people were so outraged by the convict’s statements, considering that, as he put it, “Singh’s observations would not sound that out of place in the mouths of many law-abiding Indians.”
In Parliament, many lawmakers endorsed the home minister’s view, and some wondered whether it might be possible to ban the film outside India’s borders.
Anu Aga, a member of the upper house, was one of the few members who spoke out in defense of the film.
“In glorifying India, saying we are perfect, we are not confronting the issues that need to be confronted,” she said. “Any time there is a rape, blame is put on the woman — that she was indecently dressed, she provoked the men. It is not just men in prisons’ views. It is the view of many men in India.”
She added, “Let’s be aware of it, and let’s not pretend that all is well.”
The filmmaker, Leslee Udwin, said she was “deeply saddened” by the ban, which she described as the “flouting of a basic right of freedom of speech.”
“India should be embracing this film, not blocking it with a knee-jerk hysteria without even seeing it,” she wrote in a statement on the website of NDTV, a news channel.
The film will make its United States premiere on Monday night at Baruch College in New York, at an event hosted by celebrities, including Meryl Streep, and sponsored by two advocacy organizations that work with women and girls, Plan International and Vital Voices.
The 2012 rape and subsequent trial transfixed India for most of a year, prompting passionate discussions about women’s safety in this rapidly urbanizing country.
Many Indian women are afraid to travel the streets alone after dark, and street harassment has long been dismissed indulgently as “eve teasing.” Although the per capita rate of rapes reported to the police in India is below that of many developed nations, some experts say that much sexual violence goes unreported.
The woman attacked in 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, had boarded a private bus with a male companion, not realizing that the bus was off duty and the six men aboard had been driving the streets in search of a victim. After knocking her friend unconscious, they took her to the back of the bus and raped her, then damaged her internal organs with an iron rod. She died two weeks later of her injuries.
One defendant hanged himself in his prison cell; another, a juvenile at the time of the crime, was sentenced to the maximum punishment of three years in a detention center. When the remaining four men were sentenced to death by hanging, crowds outside the courthouse erupted in celebration.
Statement from Jyoti’s Father Badrinath via EconomicTimes:
The documentary India’s Daughter holds up a mirror to society, it tells us how bad our mindset is, how we look at our own children. But how many of us are willing to look in the mirror and see what’s there?
I don’t understand why the government wanted to ban it. It is possible that they were fearing outrage and people taking to the streets after the telecast of the documentary. It could be a law and order concern for them. But for the truth to be known, it is necessary that the filth comes out too. The documentary has the comments of lawyers and other eminent people in society. It is necessary that these voices are heard by people, so that the struggle that my daughter was part of continues.
How will we protect our daughters if we don’t tell our sons what is wrong and should not be done? Isn’t it time to admit that there are both good and bad people everywhere and that certain ways of thinking have led to the death of our daughters?
I heard what the rapist Mukesh Singh said in the documentary. He thinks that my daughter asked to be raped. It made me feel sad, but not angry. It disturbs me when people like him say it was the girl’s fault that she was raped. But I have stopped getting angry now because many men, even from good families and with good degrees, seem to think like this. How can our daughters study and work freely if society thinks like this?
It is worse when politicians sitting in Parliament say the girl could have prevented rape. How can they make such irresponsible statements? Don’t they understand that what they say will be heard by hundreds of people? I think these men have no respect for women, which automatically means they have no respect for their parents. Their thinking is sick. Also, Mukesh is challenging society and the judicial system.
He is spitting on society and the courts. I wonder why there is a delay in executing the death sentences. Shouldn’t the appeals of the convicts be dismissed?
When my children were growing up, I did not favour the boys over my daughter. I have two sons, one is still in school while the other is doing engineering. I wanted all three of them to study hard. There was no option but to educate them, make them capable of good jobs and liberate them from poverty. Our daughter was the most loved child, she kept us together. She was an inspiration to her brothers.
The incident has deeply affected our family. After her death, for me and my wife, every girl on the street is like a daughter. We ask parents to treat their daughters as they treat their sons. Educate them but at the same make them strong and, more importantly, teach your sons to respect women.
My wife and I brought up our children with the sole intention of making them good citizens. I can proudly say that we have achieved that. Our daughter has shown society its true face. She has changed the lives of many young girls. She remains an inspiration even after her death. She fought back those devils. We are proud of our daughter.
- The Home Ministry is believed to be planning legal action against Leslee Udwin for allegedly violating stipulated permission conditions
- It is likely that the Delhi Police may question the BBC crew who shot the documentary
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has indicated that the government is considering action against the BBC for defying its ban and telecasting the documentary
- The Delhi Police has written to the Telecom and Communications Ministry and sought blocking of the availability of documentary film on YouTube
- Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi says they will take steps to ensure that the documentary is not broadcast anymore. “We are going to take action; whatever is required will be done under law”