Dec 16 film: We're shooting the messenger by targeting the film-maker

  • Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2015 15:10 IST

Why should we give so much publicity and importance to a heinous criminal? This is one of the arguments made against the documentary film that features an interview with the driver of the bus in which a young girl was gang-raped on December 16, 2012, in Delhi and subsequently died. The man has justified her rape and killing on the grounds that women should not be out and about at night and also that had she not resisted, she would not have been brutalised so badly. He goes on to say that in future, victims would be killed so as to not provide evidence against their attackers. These are reprehensible statements and much of the outrage that this man could air his ugly views so openly even while in jail after being convicted is understandable. But, banning the documentary serves little purpose.

In the first place, the filmmaker appears to have got permission to go inside the jail and film the man. Of course, now that the deed is done, the home ministry plans to look into how this happened. Many feel that this is an insult to the parents of the murdered girl. But, perhaps the greatest insult to her was that she could not walk on the streets of Delhi without facing such inhuman violence. As do so many other women day after day. Also ,the man’s views are not very different from those held by many in our society. The views of some of our political representatives, our khap panchayats and even surveys among young people have shown that violence against women is routinely seen as something they invite on themselves.

Documentary or no documentary, it is this regressive mindset that militates against women. In fact, his utterances could well evoke such revulsion among people that there will be more voices against such criminality in future. Instead of trying to suppress the film in which a convict has aired his despicable views, the ministry need to strengthen our policing system so that women have a fighting chance to prosecute their attackers. Whatever action is taken now, there is bound to be increased interest in the film. Banning the documentary is to take the easy way out. The problem it addresses will not go away quite so easily.

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