Home Minister Rajnath Singh today reportedly asked the Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ensure that the controversial documentary titled India’s Daughter, which features the Nirbhaya gangrape convict, is not aired abroad.
The ministry would review the existing provisions for allowing such shoots inside prisons to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
The Home Ministry has convened a meeting of top officials including Delhi LG and Police on the issue of the December 16 gangrape documentary shoot and is planning legal action against the documentary filmmakers Leslee Udwin and Anjali Bhushan for violating stipulated permission condition.
“Our government condemns the incident of December 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,” he said.
“The respect and dignity of women constitute a core value of our culture and tradition… our government remains fully committed to ensuring safety and dignity of women.”
Rajnath Singh also said that he was personally hurt when he got to know about the documentary.
“I would like to make it clear. As soon as I got to know about this incident I was personally hurt. I immediately talked to the concerned authorities and gave the instruction that it should not be telecast in any condition, and (restraining) orders were taken from court last night that whatever has been telecast should not be released,” he said.
The minister added that he had sought information regarding the conditions under which permission was given for the interview.
“In future, no one will be given permission to interview rapists,” he told the Rajya Sabha.
“If needed, responsibility will be fixed (for granting permission),” Rajnath Singh said while making the statement in the Lok Sabha.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu also said that the government will try to stop the telecast of the documentary internationally as well.
The no-objection certificate to shoot the documentary featuring interview of convicted inmates in Tihar jail of cases related to atrocities against women was given by the ministry of home affairs on July 24, 2013, Singh said.
Thereafter permission was given by jail authorities to shoot the documentary, with condition of taking prior approval of jail authorities before publishing the research paper or for releasing documentary film which “is being made for totally social purposes without any commercial interest, as conveyed”.
Other conditions included that only those inmates will be interviewed who give written consent, and that the complete unedited footage of the shoot in Tihar jail premises will be shown to jail authorities to ensure there was no breach of prison security.
“This documentary features one of the accused of the Nirbhaya case. It came to the notice of jail authorities that conditions have been violated. Hence a legal notice was issued to them on April 7, 2014,” the home minister said.
The minister said the documentary makers were asked to return the unedited footage and also not to show the film as it violates the permission condition.
“The documentary film was shown to jail authorities where it was noticed that the documentary film depicts the comments of the convict which are highly derogatory to dignity of women,” he said.
A physiotherapy student was raped and assaulted with an iron rod after she was tricked into boarding an unregistered private bus to go home after watching a movie with a male friend on December 16, 2013.
Her male companion was badly beaten up and could not come to her rescue when she was assaulted in the bus. The two were later dumped naked and bleeding on the roadside.
The woman was airlifted to a Singapore hospital for treatment where she died — 13 days after the assault — of the injuries inflicted upon her.
Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts in the gang rape case is featured in the interview.
In the documentary he said women who go out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of molesters.
Mukesh Singh, along with three other attackers, was convicted and sentenced to death last year.
With inputs from Agencies