Warning: story contains disturbing content
One of the men sentenced to death for raping and killing a woman in a brutal 2012 gang attack on a New Delhi bus says in a TV documentary that if their victim had not fought back she would not have been killed.
Instead, the 23-year-old woman should have remained silent and allowed the rape, said Mukesh Singh, who was driving the bus for much of the time that the woman was being attacked.
Singh was among four men convicted and sentenced to be executed for the rape-murder — a crime that shocked Indians and prompted hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in protest. In response, India's government rushed legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.
Activists noted that Singh showed no remorse for the crime, and said the planned broadcast of his comments would be an insult to the memory of the woman.
"What is there in spreading the views of a rapist," said Vrinda Adiga, an activist.
Singh's interview is from the documentary India's Daughter by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin. It is to be shown on Sunday, International Women's Day, in India, Britain, Denmark, Sweden and several other countries. A transcript of the 2013 interview was released Tuesday.
'Wearing wrong clothes'
"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," Singh said. "A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night ... Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes."
The woman and a male friend were returning home from seeing a movie at an upscale mall when they were tricked by the men into getting on the bus, which the men had taken out for a joyride. The attackers beat her friend and took turns raping the woman. They penetrated her with a rod, leaving severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks later.
Singh and three other men were convicted in 2013 in an unusually fast trial for India's chaotic justice system. They confessed to the attack but later retracted their confessions, saying they'd been tortured into admitting their involvement. Appeals against their death sentences are pending in the Supreme Court.
Singh suggested that the attack was to teach the woman and her friend a lesson that they should not have been out late at night.
The death penalty, he said, would make things even more dangerous for women. "Now when they rape, they won't leave the girl like we did. They will kill her," Singh said.
Police seek to block broadcast
As criticism by activists grew about airing the views of a rapist, New Delhi police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said police would ask a court to block the documentary's broadcast.
Uma Bharati, India's water resources minister, said a convict should not be provided a platform to air his views.
A spokesman at the New Delhi jail objected to the filmmakers releasing the documentary without their approval.
A spokesman for Tihar Jail, where the interview was filmed, said Udwin had agreed to allow them to screen the video before it was released.
"We want to see the documentary, as it can be screened only after it is approved by authorities," said jail spokesman Mukesh Prasad.
Udwin, however, said she had obtained necessary clearances from jail authorities as well as India's home ministry for her documentary and for interviewing the convicts in the prison.
"I had first submitted an unedited version of the documentary and later an edited version as demanded by prison authorities," Udwin told reporters in New Delhi.
She expressed surprise at the jail spokesman's claim and said she had not received any communication from prison authorities along those lines.