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BBC plays hookey, leaves India fuming

BBC plays hookey, leaves India fuming
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The move came after Home Minister  Rajnath Singh gave a statement on the floor on the House that adequate steps were being taken to stall the telecast of the controversial documentary by the BBC or any other agency. The documentary was originally scheduled to be telecast on International Women’s Day that is on March 8. 

The British behemoth telecast film-maker Leslee Ludwin’s documentary inexplicably at around 3.30 am Indian time in the UK and  it went viral across the globe. Co-producer of the documentary Dibang, a veteran Indian journalist, too appeared flummoxed on the reasons behind the unscheduled telecast. Incidentally, soon after the government took cognizance of the matter, Ludwin boarded a flight on Wednesday out of the country. After Singh’s assurance in Parliament (earlier on Wednesday) on strong action against Ludwin for violating “permission clause”, as the communication between his ministry and the BBC commenced, Ludwin thought it prudent to leave.

Following the government intervention, on Wednesday night BBC has sent a letter to Home Ministry saying that they were not going to telecast the documentary in India and will be doing it only in UK. A legal notice was served both to BBC and Ludwin but under “unusual circumstances” she was allowed to leave country.

Reacting over the communication, home minister Rajnath Singh said: “We had asked BBC not to release the documentary, but still they released it. The conditions have been breached by BBC and the MHA will take adequate action.” Speaking to  media persons, he said, the telecast took place even as the External Affairs Ministry had conveyed the government stand to BBC. Though Singh has expressed displeasure over the telecast of documentary by the BBC, the development in last 24 hours has raised several questions over the government’s stand on the issue.

The documentary includes an interview of Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus in which the 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang-raped by six men including him on December 16, 2012. Mukesh has made derogatory statements against women in the documentary. The accused said that a girl is “far more responsible for rape” than a boy and “she should allow the act to save her life.”

Meanwhile, India got support from unexpected quarters. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that the remarks by one of the Delhi gang rape convicts blaming the victim for the assault were unspeakable. Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said this at the UN Headquarters.

During the course of the day, the government managed to get the video links of the documentary removed from from Google’s video sharing site, YouTube.“We got a magistrate’s order and for compliance have written to Google and other ISPs. Google has removed it. As and when we find other sites that are carrying it, we are directing them to remove these,” said a Delhi
Police official.

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