If you can’t tolerate it, then suppress it. This is the message making the rounds in many people’s heads regarding India’s Daughter.
For the unacquainted, India’s Daughter is a documentary film made by the BBC, which looks into the series of events related to the infamous gang-rape that took place in Delhi on December 16, 2012. It has managed to feature interviews of many people involved with the incident and its subsequent fallouts.
It features the views of one of the perpetrators (specifically, Mukesh Singh), the parents of the victim, former and present members of the judiciary, and witnesses, among other personal testimonies.
Apparently, the views presented by Mr. Singh (and his lawyer) have fuelled this controversy. The former has apparently expressed his views that the victim deserved to be raped since she was a girl and not a boy.
I, like any other sensible person, need not point out that this comment by an undertrial is extremely unfortunate and merits widespread condemnation from the society at large.
That’s precisely what has happened. Soon after this incident came to light, a storm on Twitter previously engaged with the ban of the sale of beef in Maharashtra shifted to this insensitive comment.
Condemnation. Shouts. Shocks. Expressions of anger. Death threats. And everything that could be.
He got what he deserved. That is, the further spoiling of his reputation, if he had any left in the eyes of the public.
End of story. Or, as it should have been, the end of the story.
Mr. Singh is currently being held at Tihar Jail as an undertrial. Therefore, in order to interview him, the producers of BBC based in India had to get the appropriate permission from the jail authorities.
It is unclear as to the truth regarding this. Contrasting versions of the ‘truth’ have been put forward by the producer and the jail authorities, which I am not specifically citing here, due to lack of clarity.
Appropriate authorities have actually debarred television networks from airing this BBC documentary. Their reason? One of the exceptions to the Freedom of Speech and Expression in the Constitution: maintenance of law and public order.
The Actual Deal
If the producers really had permission to film inside Tihar Jail, it’s the end of the story. Just in case they did not, which means they have explicitly stepped into forbidden territory, then it is up to the Government to take appropriate action.
At the same time, the fact that Mr. Singh might have been interviewed in holding without permission to do so does not merit cancellation of the viewing of this documentary.
Let’s face it. Mr. Singh’s comments are, as claimed by BBC, an important insight into the mind of a real criminal.
It lays bare, not only before our country, but also in front of the whole world, the reality about rapists. And it is shameful. It is derogatory. It would definitely have been much better had it not been so.
Therefore, many of us would like to look away. Quite naturally. Many would like to revolt. It might just turn into a law and order problem, as very truly cited by Delhi Police.
At the same time, we must realize that forcefully suppressing the truth isn’t going to make the problem go away. Instead of shooing away from a dirty truth, it would be much better if we pull up our sleeves, analyze the problem, and take appropriate steps to correct it.
And having the chance to create a potential law and order problem, which leads our elected representatives to forbid broadcasting of a documentary, certainly isn’t the way to go about it.