UK
05/03/2015 10:41 GMT | Updated 05/03/2015 18:59 GMT

'India's Daughter' BBC Gang Rape Documentary Airs Despite Attempts To Ban It

The BBC has rushed to air its groundbreaking documentary 'India's Daughter' on Wednesday night after the Indian government said it would try to ban the programme across the globe.

The government of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has already ordered Indian television stations not to broadcast the exposé on the grounds of "objectionable content" and a "conspiracy to defame India".

"We can ban the documentary in India but there is a conspiracy to defame India and the documentary can be telecast outside. We will also be examining what should be done", said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

The ban comes shortly after Modi's u-turn on proposed rape law review was announced. The aftermath of the murder of Jyoti Singh led to a nationwide rethink on the way rape victims and suspects are treated, but recently the proposal to build 660 rape crisis centres across the country was reduced to just 36. He did this citing a belief that police are "sensitive enough and that there is no need for such centres".

'India's Daughter' was scheduled for release on BBC Four to coincide with International Women's Day on 8 March, but was brought forward in light of the Modi government's threat. It was broadcast on BBC Four at 10pm GMT and is available to watch on iPlayer.

In a statement, the BBC said, "This harrowing documentary, made with the full support and cooperation of the victim's parents, provides a revealing insight into a horrific crime that sent shock waves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women."

"The film handles the issue responsibly and we are confident the programme fully complies with our editorial guidelines. The BBC will broadcast Storyville - India’s Daughter, in the UK on BBC4. The documentary has the backing of a number other public service broadcasters; however, the BBC is only responsible for transmission of the film in the UK."

mukesh singh delhi bus rape

Mukesh Singh, one of the five men who raped Jyoti Singh in December 2012

The piece, by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, takes an in-depth look at rape culture and a woman's place in the nation following the brutal sexual assault and murder of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh on 16 December 2012.

The shocking tale of her abuse and death prompted a massive debate on women's rights in the country, which are entrenched in the constitution but rarely considered in practice.

The BBC documentary, made in full co-operation with Jyoti Singh's parents, featured an interview with one of the men convicted and sentenced to death for the abhorrent crime.

delhi bus rape

Jyoti Singh's gruesome death prompted years of protest and debate about women's rights in India

Mukesh Singh, who was driving the bus on which Jyoti was gang raped, told the camera she would still be alive "if she hadn't fought back" and claimed victims of rape were more responsible than their attackers.

"You can’t clap with one hand – it takes two hands," Mukesh told filmmaker Leslee Udwin.

"A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal.

"Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good."

"When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape," he added, speaking of Jyoti Singh. "Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’."

Mukesh Singh still maintains he was driving the bus throughout the attack and did not take part, although the court heard that the perpetrators took turns driving.

mukesh singh

Mukesh Singh is brought to Delhi High Court under high security for hearing on 24 September 2013

The harrowing words of this convicted rapist have sparked outrage in India, bolstering calls for greater women's rights and review of rape laws.

"We have to confront the issue that many men in India do not respect women," said female MP Anu Aga.

"What the man spoke reflects the views of many men in India. Why are we shying away from that? Let’s be aware of the view and not pretend all is well."

The five men fatally injured Jyoti Singh with an iron rod when she attempted to fight them off.

delhi bus rape

Protesters outside the Delhi court where the trial was held in 2013

Jyoti became known across India as "Nirbhaya" - fearless - and her violent rape sent shockwaves throughout the country.

Countless protests erupted across India, with women calling for the men to be hanged and a general crackdown on rape. The Indian Home Minister announced a review of rape laws on 23 December 2012.

Jyoti's father said: "Jyoti has become a symbol. In death, she has lit such a torch that not only this country, but the whole world, got lit up.

"But at the same time, she posed a question. What is the meaning of ‘a woman’? How is she looked upon by society today? And I wish that whatever darkness there is in this world should be dispelled by this light."

delhi rape

Jyoti Singh's mother Asha Devi at a vigil to mark the two-year anniversary of the attack

Protests against the abhorrent social conditions in India continue, as a dramatic cultural shift is still needed and hordes of brutal rape cases continue to occur. Women's rights are entrenched in India's constitution, but rarely honoured or practiced due to "traditional" societal norms and many rapists go unpunished for their actions.

A recent survey by the Hindustan Times found that 91% of Indian women believe the capital is still just as dangerous as it was in 2012 and 97% had faced some kind of sexual harassment in their lifetime.

SEE ALSO: