Activists oppose ban on ‘India’s Daughter’

New Delhi (IANS): Women activists on Thursday strongly opposed the blanket ban on a BBC documentary titled “India’s Daughter” on the December 16, 2012 gang rape of a young woman in Delhi, arguing that the “knee-jerk” reaction constitutes an attack on freedom of expression.

“I have seen the documentary. It is powerful and moving. It does not sensationalize anything,” CPI-M politburo member and women’s rights activist Brinda Karat told IANS.

“This is the fourth time that the government has banned a documentary without viewing it,” she said.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in a statement said it opposes the blanket ban on the documentary.

“This is a knee jerk reaction that constitutes an attack on the freedom of expression. Furthermore, the film reveals the reality of the brutality of rape without sensationalising it,” it said.

AIDWA further said that the correct course of action for the government is to file an FIR and take prompt action against the defence lawyers in the case for making hateful and derogatory speeches and inciting violence against women in the BBC documentary and on national television.

“Instead of needlessly banning films in an undemocratic fashion, the government would do better to pro-actively pursue the pending case in the Supreme Court, where shockingly even such a high profile case has gone unheard even once for over a year,” it said.

Activist Kamala Bhasin said: “We are never for bans. That doesn’t help anything.”

She said that the December 16, 2012 incident had invited global attention and it was important to note that “rape is a global phenomenon”.

“Rape is global. It is not an Indian invention,” she said.

The documentary had caused an uproar in India with the government banning its telecast in all formats. The government had also said that it will take steps to see that the documentary was not telecast outside India.

Writer Chetan Bhagat tweeted: “India’s Daughter is a must watch. Anyone who watches will understand devastation caused by regressive attitudes. Face it. Fix it.”

Brushing aside Indian protests, the BBC on Thursday telecast the documentary on the gang rape, “given the intense level of interest” in it.

The hour-long documentary was then uploaded on YouTube by an individual, effectively making it available to a global audience.