India Bans Incendiary Rape Documentary

Leslee Udwin had appealed to PM Narendra Modi against 'kneejerk hysteria'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2015 11:04 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2015 12:54 PM CST
British filmmaker Leslee Udwin addresses a press conference on her documentary film "India's Daughter," about the Dec. 16, 2012, gang rape on a bus in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 3, 2015.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

(Newser) – A rapist's utter lack of remorse provoked no small amount of controversy over a coming documentary, and India swiftly responded today by banning India's Daughter outright, reports the New York Times. India won't "allow any organization to leverage" the 2012 gang rape of a woman on a bus and "use it for commercial purpose," declared home minister Rajnath Singh. Police sought a restraining order, and a court quickly issued a stay banning the movie's broadcast, citing "an atmosphere of fear and tension with the possibility of public outcry and law and order situation." Israeli filmmaker Leslee Udwin, who the Guardian notes had earlier appealed directly to PM Narendra Modi, said she was "deeply saddened" by the "flouting of a basic right of freedom of speech." A cease-and-desist notice was sent to the BBC, which planned to show the film in the UK on Sunday, as well as in several European countries and Canada.

A BBC rep says, "This harrowing documentary, made with the full support and cooperation of the victim's parents, provides a revealing insight into a horrific crime." And Udwin says she had permission to interview Mukesh Singh, the BBC notes. She also insists she gave jail officials 16 hours of "raw unedited footage" as promised, but after three hours, a jailhouse committee said, "We can't sit through all this, it's too long"; she claims they then approved an edited version, per the Guardian. A member of India's Parliament says that "banning the documentary is not the answer. What the rapist said is the view of many men in India. Let us not pretend all is well."

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