Delhi rape victim's father urges viewing of documentary

The documentary, which has sparked fierce debate in India, is the work of award-winning British film-maker Leslee Udwin (right). -- PHOTO: AFP 
The documentary, which has sparked fierce debate in India, is the work of award-winning British film-maker Leslee Udwin (right). -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The father of a woman who died after a savage gang-rape in Delhi said Thursday he thought everyone should watch a documentary about the attack broadcast by the BBC but banned in India.

The British broadcaster brought forward its screening of "India's Daughter" to Wednesday evening, citing a strong public interest after an Indian court issued an order barring broadcasters from showing it.

The film has sparked a fierce debate in India because it includes an interview in which one of the convicted rapists, Mukesh Singh, blamed the 23-year-old victim, saying she should not have been out at night and should not have fought back.

But the father of the victim, who cannot be named, said the comments should be exposed publicly. "Everyone should watch the film," news channel NDTV quoted him as saying on its website.

"If a man can speak like that in jail, imagine what he would say if he was walking free," he said, describing the documentary as "the bitter truth".

The victim's mother told NDTV, which was due to broadcast the film along with the BBC on Sunday to mark International Women's Day, she did not object to the ban but believed Singh's views were widespread in India.

"I don't care what the government does, bans the film, doesn't ban the film, the only thing I know is that nobody is afraid," she said.

"It is not only Mukesh who thinks like this." Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Wednesday the government sought the ban because Singh's comments were "highly derogatory and an affront to the dignity of women".

The documentary is the work of award-winning British film-maker Leslee Udwin, and has sparked fierce debate in India.

One government minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu, called it a "conspiracy to defame India", but several lawmakers criticised the government for appearing more worried about the country's reputation than about the dangers women face.

The December 2012 gang-rape of a young physiotherapy student highlighted the frightening level of violence against women in the world's second most populous country and triggered mass protests.

It led to a major reform of India's rape laws, speeding up trials and increasing penalties, although many campaigners say little has changed for women on the ground.