A controversial BBC documentary on the December 16, 2012, gang rape in Delhi, which was banned by the Indian government, has been uploaded on YouTube.
India’s Daughter by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin sparked fierce debate in India because it features an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the six men who gang-raped and fatally injured a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus.
Singh blamed the victim for the brutal attack, saying, "A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy." He said the victim should have silently accepted being raped.
Soon after the interview was released on March 3 as part of an advance publicity campaign by BBC, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh banned the documentary in the country, arguing the Indian government would “not allow any organization to leverage such an incident and use it for commercial purpose.”
Although the restraining order issued by Singh also prohibits websites from uploading or posting the documentary, a YouTube user – who goes by the name of Kate Bevan – uploaded it on Thursday.
Moreover, BBC decided to move up India’s Daughter air date following the ban. Instead of broadcasting it on March 8 – on International Women’s Day – the film was aired in the United Kingdom on BBC Four on March 4.
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Debate in India
A series of protests followed the brutal incident on Dec. 16, 2012, prompting stricter laws on sexual violence. However, violence against women – especially rape – still remains a major problem in India.
“The number of rapes in Delhi has almost doubled from 585 in 2012 to 1,441 in 2013. Delhi is followed by Mumbai (391), Jaipur (192) and Pune (171) among the top unsafe cities in the country,” Times of India reported last year, adding the state of Madhya Pradesh recorded “the maximum rapes in 2013 among all other states with 4,335.”
While there is greater awareness regarding sexual violence in the country and more people are coming forward to report crimes, a lot still needs to be done in terms of changing the mindset of certain groups of people in the Indian society.
By banning India’s Daughter, the country’s government is taking a step backward in its fight against violence against women.
Statements by rapist Mukesh Singh in the documentary are just a glimpse of the misogynist mindset of certain people in Indian society. It is an issue that needs to be addressed and talked about – not brushed under the carpet.
In an interview with NDTV on Thursday, Badri Singh, father of the Delhi gang rape victim, criticized the ban on India’s Daughter, saying the attacker’s remarks only served to reveal the mindset of certain sections of Indian society.
"Everyone should watch the film. If a man can speak like that in jail, imagine what he would say if he was walking free," he said. "The documentary exposes what is happening." However, he added: "If the country has taken a decision, we have to accept it.”
India is frequently ranked among the top 10 countries where it's dangerous for women to travel – mainly due to the widespread sexual violence and because most rapes go unpunished. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 93 women are raped in the country daily.