Cutting across party lines, several members of Lok Sabha Wednesday expressed outrage over the interview of one of the convicts in the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case, demanding a ban on the documentary that contains the interview and also an inquiry into how such an interview was allowed.
“Taking the interview is not hurtful. What is hurtful is that the side of the accused is being presented in a way which amounts to repeating that rape,” Congress MP from Supaul (Bihar) Ranjeet Ranjan said. “Under no circumstances should this documentary be allowed to be aired on March 8 (International Women’s Day). I want an assurance from the government on this,” Ranjan added.
CPM MP from Kannur (Kerala) Sreemathi Teacher echoed Ranjan: “What a shame! If you see the statement he made in that documentary, which has appeared in the newspapers, it is very shocking. It is very shameful for the Indian community. The whole House should protest strongly against this.”
“In that documentary, one advocate made a statement, ‘If you keep sweets on the street, then dogs will come and eat them’,” Teacher said. “He adds, ‘Why did Nirbhaya’s parents send her with any one that late at night. He was not her boyfriend. Is it not the parents’ responsibility to keep an eye on where she goes and with whom?’ This is what one advocate said… How can an advocate make a statement like this?” the Kannur MP demanded.
“It is not about whether the documentary should be made or not made in this age of social media… What’s more important is that we should concentrate on what those people have said,” BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher said. “Someone who’s been given death sentence, is giving interviews from jail,” Kher said. She added: “We need to to have programmes in our schools so that a change of mindset is brought about right from childhood so that they respect women”.
“Today, the sense of this House is telling the government that we shouldn’t allow airing of a documentary like this,” BJP MP from New Delhi Meenakshi Lekhi said. She added that issues like these were attempting to harm the country’s prestige abroad and was adversely affecting tourism in our country.
‘Freedom of speech isn’t uncontrolled’
Having opposed airing of the documentary, Congress Wednesday said freedom of speech was not uncontrolled, unlimited and uncircumscribed. It said the trailer of the documentary itself was “absolutely despicable”. “There is no doubt that each one of us including that rapist has freedom of speech. But freedom of speech is not uncontrolled, untrammeled, unlimited and uncircumscribed,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.