Connect with us


Uproar in Rajya Sabha over BBC interview of rapist


New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar on Wednesday on the interview of a December 16 gang-rape convict to BBC, as members sought to know from the government how this was permitted.

While some members said it was wrong to allow the interview in which the rapist blames the victim, others were of the view that it reflected the mentality of a large section of the society, stressing on the need to correct it.

The issue was raised by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) member K.C. Tyagi during zero hour as he questioned how permission for the interview was granted.

"There is a documentary which is so derogatory. It should not be shown," Tyagi said, adding that he had also given a notice for suspension of business in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue.

Deputy chairman P.J. Kurien did not allow the suspension, but let the members express their views, himself wondering how the permission was granted.

"Such an interview should not have happened. How can this interview happen when the convict is in jail," Kurien asked. 

As members agitated over the issue, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for 15 minutes, following which Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement, saying the government had stopped telecast of the documentary and was finding out how permission was given.

Speaking after the home minister, Anu Aga (nominated) said the interview in a way reflected the view of many men.

"I concede it is an issue who gave the permission and all that. But the issue is what that man said reflects the view of many men in India. Why are we shying away from that in glorifying India, that we are perfect and not confronting the issues that need to be confronted? Banning the movie (documentry) is not the answer, we need to confront the issue that men in India do not respect women. 

"Every time blame is put on women. Let's not pretend all is well," she said.

She was supported by lyricist Javed Akhtar (nominated).

"The anger is why the interview was taken. Is the anger on why he said these things, or the anger is why is it being told to the world? I have heard such things in this house. 

"If a woman dresses like this... if she is out on road in night, she is inviting trouble. It is good that this documentary was made. Crores of people got to know they think like rapists. If they feel bad, they must change their thinking," Akhtar added.

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while supporting Akhtar's views, added that there are many men who are equally offended by the rapist's statement.

"There is no division on this issue. The sense of this outrage this house feels is being felt by all here. I am fully with Javed sahab when he says such attitude prevails. But I would differ. If many men think the way as the convict has spoken, there are very many men who also think this is not acceptable," said Sitharaman.

Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan questioned when the sentence of those convicted in the case would be be executed. (Of the six accused in the case, one is a minor and is serving a three-year sentence in a remand home. One committed suicide in the Tihar Jail while the other four have been sentenced to death and their appeal is pending in the Supreme Court.)

"I want to know. It's been three years what justice are you going to give to the memory of this woman? Please tell what will be the immediate action? You are talking about safety of women, what action will be taken," Bachchan asked.

Congress MP Ambika Soni said: "We were very surprised when this permission was given. Inquiry has to be made how it got into public arena. Why was it necessary to give a foreign channel permission?"

She also said that quick trial and punishment of rape convicts must happen.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati also asked the government to probe how the permission was granted while Communist Party of India-Marxits (CPI-M) MP T.N. Seema said: "Government expresses concern but forgets it later."

Replying to the question when the sentence will be executed, the home minister said: "This decision will be taken by the court. I cannot say anything about it. It will happen as per rules and regulations."

Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts in the case featured in a documentary which was to be telecast coming Sunday (March 8).

In the documentary, Mukesh Singh said the women who go out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of molesters.