Delhi Police on Tuesday obtained a restraining order from a court against the broadcast of a documentary film, which features an interview of December 16 rapist Mukesh Singh. An FIR against unknown persons was also registered in the matter on Tuesday night, a day after excerpts of the interview were made public.
The restraining order said, “British filmmaker Leslee Udwin from BBC interviewed Mukesh Singh… in which he had made offensive and derogatory remarks against women creating an atmosphere of fear and tension with the possibility of public outcry and law and order situation. …The court has passed order prohibiting the publication/transmission of the interview till further orders.”
Earlier in the day, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for a detailed report from the prison chief, taking strong exception to the fact that the interview of Mukesh Singh was shot inside Tihar Jail by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin. According to sources, treating it as a “serious’’ issue, Singh spoke to Tihar Jail director-general Alok Kumar Verma and told him to urgently submit a report. Sources said Verma briefed the minister about the issue and the action taken so far.
Meanwhile, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry stepped into the controversy over ‘India’s Daughter’ late on Tuesday, issuing an advisory to all news channels asking them to not run the documentary that contains this interview.
Commissioner of Police B S Bassi said, “We have moved the competent court for issuance of a restraint order against the broadcast and publication of the content (interviews) in the documentary film. It contains offensive content which should not be broadcast in the interest of maintaining public order.”
Bassi said Delhi Police have registered an FIR under sections of the IPC pertaining to breach of peace, insult the modesty of a woman and sections of the IT Act. “We will now analyse the excerpts of the interview and book the ones responsible,” Bassi said.
According to sources, the sections of insult to the modesty of a woman were invoked based on the statements made by Mukesh Singh, justifying the act of rape. Sources said his name may be included in the FIR after the initial investigation is complete.
Academy award-winning filmmaker Udwin interviewed accused Mukesh Singh for her documentary film ‘India’s Daughter’ produced by Assassin Films and scheduled to be screened on March 8 (International Women’s Day) by the BBC. The hour-long film is based on extensive interviews of the victim’s parents, the convicts and their families and lawyers.
Tihar officials had on Monday said they had sent a legal notice to the filmmaker in 2014 about non-compliance with a few clauses of the permission granted to them. Tihar jail PRO Mukesh Prasad said, “We had sent the BBC a legal notice last year. But we got no reply.”
But a BBC spokesperson said, “To date, the BBC has no record of such a notice being served. Assassin Films, the production company that made India’s Daughter has assured the BBC that it fully complied with the filming permissions granted by Tihar Jail. We are confident the film fully complies with our editorial guidelines.”
At a press conference in Delhi on Tuesday, Udwin said, “We complied with all the rules set out by Tihar regarding the shooting of the documentary. I wrote a letter to the then DG of Tihar, Vimla Mehra, for permission to interview one of the accused Mukesh Singh in May, 2013. We were given permission by Tihar jail authorities and the Ministry of Home Affairs around two weeks later. Then I interviewed Mukesh Singh in October, 2013.”
She further explained, “According to the permission granted to us, we were supposed to show all unedited raw footage of the interview to Tihar Jail authorities. After I conducted a 16-hour long interview of Mukesh, I submitted it for viewing to a three-member panel of Tihar Jail officials. They said it was too long to watch and instead asked for an edited shorter version of the footage. I submitted the edited version which was cleared. I have all the documents and the permission letters granting me access to Mukesh Singh.”