While China is moving to block the airing of a documentary on pollution, India is moving to block the airing of a documentary on the scourge of its country: rape. India has long been accused of having a rape culture where women are blamed for their own victimization and the caste system (and poor legal system) continues to frustrate efforts to hold rapists accountable. That dire situation for women led to the much acclaimed documentary by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, “India’s Daughter.” The Indian government is so opposed to letting its citizens hear about such abuses that it is now threatening the BBC for airing the banned documentary.
The documentary deals with the gang rape and subsequent death of 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi in December 2012 that we previously discussed. The most riveting portion of the film is the interview of Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus currently on death row in Delhi’s Tihar jail. Singh not only shows no remorse but blames the victim: “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”
It is a view that is all too familiar to women in India, but the government wants the interview and the film quashed. India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the upper house: “When I heard about the documentary I was hurt. Under no circumstances should this be telecast. So we got a restraining order from the court.” Now there is solid logic. The film is deeply revealing and disturbing and therefore must be banned.
The Government insists that it is not clear who gave permission for the interview. However, the interview was clearly voluntary and he clearly received someone’s permission since he is in prison. None of that explains why the government would bar citizens from hearing this interview.