NEW DELHI — Indian authorities ordered television stations Tuesday not to broadcast a documentary about a gang rape on a New Delhi bus in which one of the attackers blames the victim and says she could have avoided being killed if she had not fought back, a government official said.
The order followed an outcry over giving a convicted prisoner a nationwide platform to express repugnant views about a horrific crime that shocked Indians and prompted hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in protest. In response to the 2012 attack, India’s government rushed through legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.
“What is there in spreading the views of a rapist?” said activist Vrinda Adiga.
The documentary, “India’s Daughter” by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, was to be shown on Sunday, International Women’s Day, in India as well as in Britain, Denmark, Sweden and several other countries. The New Delhi Television, a private news channel, had indicated it would air the program.
The documentary includes a jailhouse interview from 2013 with Mukesh Singh, who was among four men convicted and sentenced to be executed for the crime. A transcript of the interview was released Tuesday, and New Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said police would ask a court to block the documentary’s broadcast.
Later Tuesday, India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry ordered television channels not to air the documentary, a government official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
Activists noted that Singh showed no remorse for the crime, and that broadcasting his comments would be an insult to the memory of the woman.
The woman and a male friend were returning home from seeing a movie at an upscale mall when they were tricked by the men into getting on the bus, which the men had taken out for a joyride. The attackers beat her friend and took turns raping the woman. They penetrated her with a rod, leaving severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks later.
Singh and three other men were convicted in 2013 in an unusually fast trial for India’s chaotic justice system. They confessed to the attack but later retracted their confessions, saying they’d been tortured into admitting their involvement. Appeals against their death sentences are pending in the Supreme Court.
Singh, who was driving the bus for much of the time that the 23-year-old woman was being attacked, told the interviewer that she should have remained silent and allowed the rape.
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” Singh said. “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. … Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”
He suggested that the attack was to teach the woman and her friend a lesson that they should not have been out late at night.
The death penalty, he said, would make things even more dangerous for women. “Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her,” Singh said.
A spokesman at the New Delhi jail objected to the filmmakers releasing the documentary without their approval, saying Udwin had agreed to allow them to screen the video first.
“We want to see the documentary, as it can be screened only after it is approved by authorities,” said Tihar Jaill spokesman Mukesh Prasad.
Udwin, however, said she had obtained necessary clearances from jail authorities and India’s home ministry for her documentary and for interviewing the convicts in the prison.
“I had first submitted an unedited version of the documentary and later an edited version as demanded by prison authorities,” Udwin told reporters in New Delhi.
She expressed surprise at the jail spokesman’s claim and said she had not received any communication from prison authorities along those lines.