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Leslee Udwin Issues Statement on PM’s comment on the ban of India’s Daughter

New Delhi, 11th May 2015: “It is heartening that the PM has at last made a statement on the ban of INDIA’s DAUGHTER. I am further heartened by the fact that he has not repeated the MHA’s groundless position on the film re permissions, content and public unrest. I would like to address the reasons he does give for the ban of a film which was not seen before it was banned:

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 – The Indian version of the film did not name the rape victim, and fully complied with India law. Had the Indian version of the film been allowed to be broadcast on NDTV as planned on the 8th March, it not have contained her name. Her name has been publicised elsewhere on the internet from 2012 onwards (eg Wikipedia) since her parents released her name to international journalists. Her parents also proudly announced her name in interview for the international version of the documentary. They did so to make the point that shame should not adhere to a victim of rape. The shame belongs to the rapist and any society that teaches the rapist to think of women as of lesser value to them.

 – Her parents are in the best position to do justice to her memory; they participated in the documentary, viewed it fully before its release, and gave consent for its release. They want her story to be told for the exact opposite reasons that Modi has cited.  They understand that the only way to give meaning to the tragedy of her loss is to try to ensure other girls are spared such heinous crimes.

– There is no new content in the film that is not on court record; two former highly respected Indian Judges have given their formal written opinions that the film does not impede the judicial process nor lend itself to any sort of prejudicing of the Supreme Court proceedings. Five further oral opinions were given to the same effect by senior judges and advocates of the Indian Supreme and High Courts. The transcript of the trial was meticulously combed through by a lawyer for any variations with what Mukesh Singh said in the documentary; there was one significant point of variation which amounted to “new evidence”, and this was responsibly excised from all versions of the documentary.  The Supreme Court may not and does not regard any information that is not ‘on record’ in the sessions and High courts. I even took the additional precautionary measure of showing the film to the prosecution team for the state. The opinion I received (in person, after they had watched the documentary was “this film is 100% accurate to the case and as long as you do not name the victim, and put a disclaimer on the front of the film there can be no prejudice to the Supreme Court proceedings from this film”.

I believe the decision to broadcast the documentary was correct, and legally and morally responsible.

I call on the PM again, to consider how much this documentary holds a mirror to his own statements on women’s rights and atrocities against them.

I ask him to further consider that the documentary in fact praises India and those forward-looking ordinary people who so valiantly, courageously and tirelessly protested this heinous rape on the streets of India’s cities.

I ask him to consider that India had led the world by example in these protests; no other country has responded with such forward-thinking demands for change and championing of women’s rights, as India did in December/January 2012/13.

I ask the PM to lift the unwarranted ban and MIB advisory (which is tantamount to a ban by another name) and in doing so to serve the cause of Women’s Human Rights the world over and inspires other nations to do the same”.

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