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India bans film on rape convict as outrage mounts
March 05, 2015
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NEW DELHI: Amid uproar in parliament over a documentary which featured one of the Dec.16 gang rape convicts, the home ministry on Wednesday went into damage control mode, saying orders were obtained from court to restrain the broadcast of the documentary and promising to investigate how permission was given to interview the rapist.

The issue was raised in both houses of parliament, as members across party lines asked the government to stop the telecast of the documentary saying it insulted women.

“Our government condemns the incident of Dec.16, 2012 in the strongest possible terms and will not allow any attempt by any individual, group or organisation to leverage such unfortunate incidents for commercial benefits,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement in both houses of parliament on Wednesday. “In what condition this order was given I have asked for full information on that. In future, no one will be given permission to interview rapists,” the home minister said, as both houses saw members protest against the documentary.

Rajnath Singh said the permission for the documentary was granted in 2013, adding that the documentary maker violated the conditions on which the permission was granted.

Sushilkumar Shinde, who was the home minister in 2013, however, said he was not responsible for it.

“I had not given any permission to make a documentary on the Nirbhaya case. It was not given by me. I observed the conversation in parliament, Mr. Rajnath Singh has not mentioned my name. It must have been given by somebody, I do not know,” Shinde told reporters on Wednesday.

Making similar statements in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the home minister said orders were obtained from court Tuesday night to restrain the broadcast of the documentary.

A Delhi court on Wednesday directed continuation of the ban on the telecast of the documentary.

Rajnath Singh said he was personally hurt when he got to know about the documentary.

As the home minister promised responsibility will be fixed, official sources said Tihar jail director general Alok Verma met him on Wednesday on the issue.

Parliament members across party lines condemned the interview of the Dec.16 gang rape convict, while some said it reflected the mentality of several other men in society.

“There is a documentary which is so derogatory. It should not be shown,” Janata Dal-United leader KC Tyagi said raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha.

Nominated member Javed Akhtar said that while members were angry about the comments made by the convict, he has heard similar comments in the house.

BJP Lok Sabha member Kirron Kher said: “Mentality needs to be changed. They don’t consider women as human beings.”

Several women activists also raised objections to the documentary calling it unacceptable.

“This is totally unacceptable. We have to draw an ethical boundary. I do not understand why they are doing it (airing the interview),” women’s rights activist Ranjana Kumari told reporters.

Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Barkha Singh said: “This defames the nation. How could they be given permission for interview?”

Indo-Asian News Service

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