Heated Debate in Parliament Over Nirbhaya Documentary 'India's Daughter'

New Delhi:

There was a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha today, after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a statement that a restraining order had been obtained against the screening of  "India's Daughter," a documentary based on the 2012 Delhi gang-rape.

The minister said the government would investigate why permission was granted to the makers of the documentary to interview one of the rapists on death row in the case.

"When I heard about the documentary I was hurt. Under no circumstances should this be telecast. So we got a restraining order from the court," Mr Singh said.

In the documentary, Mukesh Singh - one of the four men sentenced to death for the brutal gang-rape and killing of a young woman in a moving bus in Delhi - has been interviewed by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, who obtained legal permission to speak to the convict at Delhi's Tihar Jail.

In the interview, Singh has displayed an appalling lack of remorse, blaming the woman for the rape.

Some members of the Upper House today questioned the move to block the documentary. "I concede that there is an issue on who gave the permission and all that, but the reality is what the man spoke reflects the view of many men in India and why are we shying away from that? In glorifying India and (saying) we are perfect we are not confronting the issues that need to be confronted," said Anu Aga, a nominated member.

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Ms Aga, a leading businesswoman and social activist, said banning the documentary was not the answer. "We have to confront the issue that men in India do not respect women and any time there is a rape, blame is put on the woman that she was indecently dressed, she provoked the men," she said.

"It's good this documentary has been made. If any one finds it objectionable, they should change their mindset," said lyricist Javed Akhtar.

But Meekashi Lekhi of the BJP said, "The sense of this House is signalling to the government to not let this documentary air. There should be proper investigation in this matter. This affects tourism... the police should take appropriate action... they should be charged under appropriate sections."

Her party colleague Kirron Kher said, "More important than whether the documentary should be made or not made, what those people said is what we need to concentrate on. Those people haven't learned anything all these years."

Earlier, women MPs from Opposition parties, led by Jaya Bachchan of the Samjawadi Party, stormed the well of the House and forced a brief adjournment with demands for action against jail officials for allowing the interview.