In an impassioned speech in the Lok Sabha, Kirron Kher (BJP), speaking on the issue of banning the BBC documentary on the Dec. 16, 2012 gangrape in Delhi, said: “People need to understand that the right to give consent to their bodies is that of the woman’s and cannot be abrogated to somebody else.”
Calling for a change in mindset, she added: “How she dresses, what she speaks, where she goes is her choice.’’
Speaking in a similar vein in the Rajya Sabha, nominated member Anu Aga pointed out that death penalty for rapists or banning the documentary is not the issue. “We have to confront the fact that men in India do not respect women. These are the views of many men in India and let’s not pretend that all is well.’’
Echoing this, Javed Akhtar said: “We have heard such comments [rape victims being blamed for the way they dress or being out late in the night] in this House,’’ adding that it is good that the documentary has been made because it will make several men realise that they think like rapists.
Making a statement on the issue, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament that prior approval of jail authorities is required for releasing the documentary film “for only social purposes” with no commercial interest.
Home Ministry sources said this was conveyed to the film-makers but appeared to have been violated and legal action would be initiated.
Mr. Singh said, “It came to the notice of the jail authorities that the permission conditions have been violated and hence a legal notice was issued to them on 7th April, 2014 to return the unedited footage within 15 days and also not to show the film as it violates the permission conditions.”
While some members called for a ban on the film, others said that instead of such a drastic move, there should be an effort to change the mindset of people and this endeavour should begin in every home from a very young age.