India wants a worldwide ban on a film about rape

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Wednesday 04 March 2015 15:50
news

The Indian government wants to ban a British filmmaker's documentary about attitudes to sexual violence against women in the country.

Ministers have already gained an injunction against India's Daughter being screened in India, and now, improbably, hope to get it pulled from schedules across the world.

The film by Leslee Udwin, herself a rape victim, has provoked anger and consternation in India due to her interview with convicted gang rapist Mukesh Singh.

Mukesh Singh, one of six males involved in the brutal gang rape and murder of 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh in 2012, told Udwin that women were ultimately responsible for all rapes.

A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.

  • Mukesh Singh

Indian ministers have said they wanted the film - due to be screened on International Women's Day this Sunday - banned because it was an "affront to the dignity of women".

Home minister Rajnath Singh said: "How was permission given to interview a rapist? It is shocking. I will get this investigated."

But Udwin said she had secured all the relevant permissions from the government, the prison and Mukesh Singh herself.

In a statement issued to the Guardian, she said: "India should be embracing this film – not blocking it with a kneejerk hysteria without even seeing it. This was an opportunity for India to continue to show the world how much has changed since this heinous crime. Sadly… the banning of the film will see India isolated in the eyes of the world. It's a counterproductive move."

In an earlier appearance before journalists at a news conference in India, she explained why the film, and specifically Mukesh Singh's comments, had to be seen in India:

I got an insight and an understanding into the way he views women, and that is what is extremely shocking. Not what he did, but what he thinks that led him to do what he did, and it's not just he who thinks that it's a societal problem. No regret for one second out of 16 hours, no regret, in fact the opposite. Mukesh's attitude is 'why are they making a fuss about us, everybody's doing it'.

India has toughened up anti-rape laws since the 2012 attack, but rapes are still reported every 21 minutes.

India's Daughter, a BBC Storyville documentary, will be shown as planned on BBC Four on Sunday March 8.

More: [Delhi bus gang rapist blames victim - A girl is more responsible for rape]3

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