Saturday, December 3, 2022

Maker of Delhi rape film disappointed over unceremonious silencing

Maker of Delhi rape film disappointed over unceremonious silencing

NEW DELHI (Reuters) Leslee Udwin, director of "India's Daughter", said on Thursday she was "deeply saddened" by the decision to not allow its airing in India.

The film which features conversations with Mukesh Singh and fellow convicts who raped and tortured a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012, was banned in India due to fear of the creating an atmosphere of "fear and tension" and fuelling public anger.

"I urge (Indian PM Narendra) Modi to deal with this unceremonious silencing of the film," said Udwin, who is a rape victim herself, in a statement published by NDTV, which was to have aired the documentary on March 8, International Women's Day.

NDTV also reproduced letters showing Udwin had obtained permission from the home ministry prior to carrying out the interviews, and had the consent of Mukesh in Tihar jail.

Udwin told reporters on Tuesday she had given jail officials a chance to sit through hours of unedited footage, but they did not do so. Officials later approved a pared-down version, she said.

The British filmmaker, who worked on the film for two years and was inspired to make it after watching thousands of people take to the streets across India in protest over the 2012 rape, said it would be released worldwide as planned.

India toughened its anti-rape laws in response to the outcry following the 2012 attack, but a rape is still reported on average every 21 minutes in India, and acid attacks, domestic violence and molestation are common.

Mukesh's comments in "India's Daughter" have grabbed headlines in Indian newspapers and sparked outrage on social media. Some people have questioned whether the convicts should have been given a forum to express their views.

On Wednesday, the issue was debated in parliament.

Four men including Mukesh were sentenced to death for the crime, but their execution was later stayed on appeal by 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.