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Report on Shemaroo

Govt. assures Parliament that film on Nirbhaya incident of December 2012 will not be telecast

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NEW DELHI: Following strong protests in Rajya Sabha today, Home Minister Rajnath Singh committed to members that the government will move to court to restrain the screening of the film on the ghastly Nirbhaya incident of 16 December 2012 by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin while informing the upper house that a first information report has already been filed against the producers.

The uproar arose out of the revelation in the press meet on 3 March by Udwin and co-producer Dibang that the film contained interviews conducted in Tihar Jail with those who have been convicted in the case, including Mukesh Singh who had justified the gang rape.

Singh said that he is personally hurt by the incident and he has spoken to the authorities to stop screening of the documentary in India. He said the government will act promptly and firmly against those officials and others responsible for giving permission to the BBC and a British filmmaker to go ahead with the interviews and to subsequently allow its broadcast.

Earlier before question, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi gave an absolute assurance that the government would act, but this did not satisfy the opposition, and some members trooped into the Well of the House to disrupt proceedings. The House session was being chaired by its Deputy Chairman P.J.Kurien, who had to adjourn for 15 minutes.

Singh said, “The condition was given to shoot the interview for social purpose and not for commercial use. A legal notice was issued to them when the jail authorities came to know that it violated the conditions. The permission to shoot the documentary was given with conditions.”

Later, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said, “The airing of documentary would be contempt of court. This entire documentary is against the programming code of I&B ministry. Language seems to incite violence against women, and instills fear.”

Although nobody has been named in the FIR, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi maintained that the ‘main actor’ is the person who has made these assertions.

He urged the media not to broadcast any assertion which transgresses the domain of law. “This was a ghastly crime. One has to take into consideration that reporting of a crime does not transgress the domain of law and if that happens then the law will have to take its own course,” he told reporters.

The FIR was registered under IPC sections 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) 505(1)(b) (With intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and section 66A of the IT Act (Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service) at the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police.

Udwin had claimed that she took permission from the then Director General of Tihar jail Vimla Mehra to interview Mukesh Singh in prison for the BBC. 

Asked about this claims, Bassi said, “I am not aware of any permission. Even if it was given, it was given to remain in the domain of law. If any act transgresses the domain of law and particularly IPC, I am duty bound to take action and we have registered a case.”

The India-United King co-production India’s Daughter was slated for a world premiere simultaneously in India, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

NDTV 24x7 was to telecast of the interview-based documentary in India on International Women's Day - 8 March at 9.00 pm. 

India’s Daughter tells the story of the horrific Delhi gang rape and of the unprecedented protests and riots, which this horrific event ignited throughout India, demanding changes in attitudes towards women. 

Udwin said Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus in which the 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang-raped by six men, said women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of male molesters.

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