BBC interview of Nirbhaya's rapist kicks up storm

New Delhi: A BBC documentary carrying an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of those convicted in the December 16, 2012 gang rape, justifying the brutality of the crime, triggered a furore on Tuesday as Delhi Police said it will move court against its airing and registered a case.

The dead victim's parents reiterated their demand for hanging the rapists even as protesting women's rights groups termed the interview "totally unacceptable" and "very disturbing".

The documentary "India's daughter", by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin has kicked up a storm over the interview of Mukesh Singh, who is among the six men who raped the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist on December 16, 2012 on board a moving bus.

The convict said the woman should not have "resisted" while being raped.

Amid the controversy, Udwin said she had followed the "necessary protocol" in making her documentary.

"I wrote a letter to Tihar's director general saying that the film will be in public interest and there won't be any unnecessary sensationalism. I was given the permission and I interviewed these convicts from October 8 to 10, 2013," she told reporters.

She said the controversy "is unnecessary".

On the basis of media reports, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) branch of Delhi Police registered a case and started their probe into the matter and said it will move court to stop airing of the documentary.

"This was a ghastly crime and the law has been broken, we will investigate the case," Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi told reporters here.

The interview is to be aired by BBC Four on its Storyville programme on March 8 to coincide with International Women's Day.

The victim 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.

She died 13 days after the attack after being airlifted to a Singapore hospital for treatment.

Women's rights activists came out strongly against the planned airing of the interview.

"This is very, very disturbing. The case is still pending," Akhila Shivdas of the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) told IANS.

Women's rights activist Ranjana Kumari told the media: "This is totally unacceptable. We have to draw an ethical boundary. I do not understand why they are doing it (airing the interview)."

Former additional solicitor general of India Indira Jaising, in a letter to a channel which was scheduled to air the interview, said: "During the trial, police and prosecution had sought a trial in camera, so that the press could not report in proceedings in court."

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

BJP parliamentarian Kirron Kher said: "Mentality needs to be changed. They don't consider women human beings."

Following the uproar, the parents of the gang rape victim demanded the "immediate" hanging of the convicts for justifying the ghastly crime.

The father blamed the "judicial system" and said such remarks will embolden other rapists.

"It is a message to the country. Such statement (by the convict) is supporting people like him... and it is showing the fault of our judicial system," he told Times Now channel.

The Supreme Court is hearing the appeal against the death sentence awarded to the four men. One of the six rapists is a juvenile and is in a remand home, while another man hanged himself while awaiting trial.

The documentary is to be broadcast in India on March 8 on NDTV 24X7 at 9 p.m., and simultaneously shown in countries like Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Canada. But with police moving court against its telecast, a question mark hangs over its telecast.

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