India rape documentary leads to activists arrest

By Efrosini Costa

India rape documentary leads to activists arrest
A young activist has been arrested after screening a documentary on rape in India.

Defying a government ban on the documentary India’s Daughter, the young woman screened the film for a village audience near the northern city of Agra.

Using borrowed equipment, Ketan Dixit showed the documentary on a makeshift screen made of white bedsheets in the compound of a journalist’s home in Roopdhanu.

Around 60 men, women and children were reported to have watched the film which has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks.

Definat, Dixit was quoted the day after saying he was: “ready to face any action that was initiated.”

“This is the beginning of a series of protests,” Dixit told a reporter.

“We will also lodge a protest petition online against this ban,” the formers journalist for a Hindi newspaper said after police confiscated all the audiovisual equipment used for the unofficial screening on International Women’s Day.

India’s Daughter is a film made by British documentary-maker Leslee Udwin. It looks into the fatal gang rape of a young woman in Delhi in December 2012 even features an interview with one of the men convicted of the Delhi bus rape who is facing the death penalty.

Authorities in Delhi banned the film from its intended screening on Indian television citing”objectionable content”. A news channel in the country staged an hour long protest during the intended broadcast time, displaying the title of the film in red and white against a black background illuminated by an old-style wicker lamp.


Despite India’s ban on the film and it’s request not to be broadcast anywhere else, it was broadcast on UK channel BBC4 on Sunday, International Women’s Day, it’s second screening on the channel in five days.

“We do not feel the film as currently edited could ever be construed as derogatory to women or an affront to their dignity,” BBC director of television, Danny Cohen, said.

Over 500,000 viewers tuned in to watch the film, which was broadcasted a week early after Delhi authorities banned it in India.

The documentary’s director, Leslee Udwin, said the Indian government had: “committed international suicide” by banning the film and asking for YouTube to remove all links to it.

Dixit took to Twitter to thank the BBC for showing the documentary announcing : “Now I am taking film to villages.”

The screening impacted many of the younger viewers, especially young females like 18-year-old Deeksha. She said she felt the film had managed to portray the mindset of many in society. “Every woman should see it. The government should revoke the ban immediately.”

“I think the rapists should simply be hanged,” another woman, Meera Parmar, was quoted as saying.

Stop Acid Attacks (SAA), a group campaigning on behalf of young women disfigured by acid-throwing men, expressed concern that, following the screening, the police might implement a general crackdown against social activists.

“Since Ketan screened this documentary, police are pressuring everyone who is associated with him,” it said, appealing for support from civil society.


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