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Controversy erupts over Dec 16 gang-rape convict’s interview

Controversy erupts over Dec 16 gang-rape convict’s interview
A British film maker's interview of one of the December 16 gangrape convicts for a documentary in which he showed no remorse kicked up a storm on Tuesday with Government taking a serious view of the matter and seeking an explanation from Tihar jail authorities.

The parents of the December 16, 2012 gangrape victim reacted angrily to the remarks made by Mukesh Singh in the interview where he seeks to blame their daughter for the horrific incident, calling it shameful and demanded he be hanged.

The filmmaker Leslee Udwin on her part said the film is her attempt to examine the attitude of men towards women and that there was nothing sensational in it.

Udwin also claimed she took permission from the then Director General of Tijar jail Vimla Mehra before interviewing Mukesh in the prison for BBC.

Taking the incident of the convict being interviewed in custody very "seriously", Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tihar jail Director General Alok Kumar Verma and sought a detailed report on it urgently, official sources said.

During the telephonic conversation, the DG briefed the Home Minister about the incident and the action taken so far, the sources said.

In the interview, Mukesh, who was awarded death sentence for the brutal rape and murder of the 23-year-old girl, said the women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of male molesters.

"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," he had said. Mukesh also said that had the girl and her friend not tried to fight back, the gang would not have inflicted the savage beating, which led to her death later.

Describing the killing as an "accident", he had said, "When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy."

'India's Daughter' tells the story of the Delhi gangrape incident from the perspective of the convicts and victim's parents, Udwin claimed.

The filmmaker asked people not to have pre-conceived notion about the movie, which will premiere in India on March 8 on NDTV.

"The film ends with global statistics around the world, country by country. Rape is not an Indian problem. It's a global problem," she told reporters.

As a controversy arose over permission given to interview Mukesh in Tihar jail, she said, "I wrote a letter to DG of Tihar. The DG of Tihar had to consult with MHA. The letter basically stated that it was a campaigning film. I had applied permission in May 2013 and I got the answer 'yes' in two weeks. Official permission of MHA also came. Permission from the prison was also signed.".

When asked why she gave a platform to the convict, Leslee, who interviewed Mukesh in 2013, said, "That's a great pity. Indian media should highlight what is going on in their mind. You have to keep repeating it until it stops and changes.

Delhi police register FIR

Delhi Police on Tuesday registered an FIR in connection of the controversial interview of a convict in the December 16 gang-rape case while also saying that it would move court to seek a restrain order on airing of the show. 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 and 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,” Bassi said.
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