To global dismay, authorities in India have secured an injunction on Leslee Udwin’s India Daughter, the detailed documentary about the 2012 Delhi rape case, due to the close-up interview with some of the attackers.
“A decent girl won’t roam around at 9:00 at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” says convicted rapist Mukesh Singh in a 16-hour-long interview.
Singh is one of six men, including his brother Ram, convicted for brutally raping 23-year-old Jyoti Singh on a Delhi bus on December 16, 2012. The victim, dubbed ‘India’s Daughter,’ died thirteen days later in hospital in Singapore.
Singh and three of the other rapists are currently appealing against their death sentences, which they are serving in Tihar jail.
Singh says: “The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”
The worldwide coverage of the rape case laid bare the predominant gender hierarchy in India as well as the lack of social education from which the country suffers.
It has also shown a national battle against sexual violence where women are viewed as a commodity.
There have been countless past expressions of misogyny and promotion of ‘rape culture’ in India, including some from those in authority.
Former Director of Central Bureau of Investigation Ranjit Sinha said in a news conference in December 2013: “If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it.” Sinha’s comments immediately drew the ire of women activists, and of many on the social media, who called his words shameful.
The BBC documentary also features the lawyers who defended the murderers. Among them is ML Sharma, considered by some in the Indian legal profession as a serial petitioner, who represents Singh’s brother, Ram.
He said: “You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”
Creator of India’s Daughter Leslee Udwin told The Guardian: “What impelled me to leave my husband and two children for two years while I made the film in India was not so much the horror of the rape as the inspiring and extraordinary eruption on the streets. A cry of ‘enough is enough.'”
These cries continue following the injunction against the documentary.
Only illiterates can ban the documentary India’s Daughter Sociological probing of the mindset of rapists is important for fighting rapes
— aniket prantadarshi (@prantadarshi) March 4, 2015
#LiftTheBan on India’s daughter, because a conversation is needed on the cancer that is male supremacy.
— Amar Mahmood (@mahmooa1) March 4, 2015
There is also distinct approval of UK-based journalists. Sky News News Planner Tasha Mathur explains: “What I think is most important about this film is that it is being aired on NDTV in India. Whilst it is fantastic that the Nirbhaya case brought the issue of rape in India to the world’s attention, it is still something that needs to be addressed within India by Indian citizens and government. I’ve spoken to women in India who still don’t feel that anything has changed despite the global interest and it will be interesting to see if this film could change anything. I think that’s the most important thing with films that address issues such as this. I think it’s great that Leslee Udwin also focuses on the positive outcomes of Delhi rape case and more people should be focusing on this.”
Unfortunately, despite Udwin’s statements of having official approval from Ministry of Home Affairs and Tihar county jail to acquire the controversial interviews, the injunction remains sealed by the film possibly being in contempt of court.
Watch Udwin’s press conference in Delhi as she speaks about the filmmaking process and how Jyoti Singh’s family reacted to the full documentary:
India’s Daughter will air in the UK on BBC4 on Sunday March 8 at 8pm to mark International Women’s Day.
NB The BBC rescheduled the airing of India’s Daughter for Wednesday March 4 on BBC4.
Featured image – Flickr: Ramesh Lalwani