India may act against broadcast of Delhi gang rape documentary by BBC

India’s Interior Minister, Rajnath Singh, says necessary action will be taken if there is breach of conditions by BBC in the broadcast of a documentary based on December 16 gang rape in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI, INDIA (MARCH 05, 2015) (ANI) – India’s Interior Minister, Rajnath Singh, on Thursday (March 05) said that necessary action would be taken if there was breach of conditions by BBC in the broadcast of a documentary based on a gang rape that shook New Delhi two years ago.

The hue and cry surrounding the documentary film reached the Indian Parliament on Wednesday (March 04). Addressing the Upper House, Rajya Sabha, Singh said that the documentary would not be aired in India and accused its makers of violating “permission conditions” by not showing the complete unedited footage to jail officials.

However, BBC went ahead and aired the hour-long film even after a blanket ban on the telecast of ‘India’s Daughter’ in the United Kingdom and other countries in the early hours of Thursday. It was due to be aired on International Women’s Day on Sunday (March 08) but was brought forward.

“We did not want it to be released but BBC released it from London. Now whatever steps we have to take, Home Ministry will decide that. At present, I don’t want to comment anything. But if there is any infringement of conditions then action will be taken positively,” Singh said on Thursday.

Delhi police Commissioner, B.S. Bassi, said action would be taken if any objectionable content was found in the documentary.

“We are going to take action under the law. Whatever is required further to ensure that this documentary, particularly the part which transgresses the law, is not screened,” Bassi said.

The documentary by British filmmaker, Leslee Udwin has been banned in India over concerns over derogatory comments made by one of the rapists and the violation of guidelines set for filmmakers.

It features conversations with death-row convict Mukesh Singh who, along with five others, raped and tortured a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012, sparking nationwide protests and forcing India to toughen anti-rape laws.

BBC, reportedly, has defended the broadcast, which seeks to explore the crime and the cultural context in which it was committed. A spokesman said it provided a “revealing insight into a horrific crime that sent shock waves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women”.

Indian women activist, Jagmati Sangwan, hailed the news channel’s decision to air the documentary.

“It’s a welcoming step that the BBC has shown the film. In the context of India we want to say that without seeing even a movie, banning it is highly objectionable and we demand action and FIR against the advocates who were on TV and who were instigating, inciting violence against women,” said Sangwan.

On the night of December 16, 2012, six men had lured the 23-year-old trainee and her male friend onto the bus, as the pair was on their way home after watching a movie at a shopping mall in south Delhi.

As the bus drove through the streets of the capital, the men repeatedly raped the girl and penetrated her with a metal bar before dumping her and her friend, naked and semi-conscious, onto the road.

Her friend later recovered, but the woman’s internal injuries were so severe that she died in a Singapore hospital two weeks after the attack.

Four men including Mukesh were sentenced to death for the crime, but their execution was later stayed on appeal by the Supreme Court. One of the defendants hanged himself in prison, while another, who was under 18 at the time, got three years in juvenile detention.