A day after the sole witness of the Delhi gang rape termed the documentary India’s Daughter ‘fake’, filmmaker Leslee Udwin said the Indian government should hang its head in shame for banning her documentary.
Read: Sole witness of Delhi gang rape claims documentary is fake
"The government should hang its head in shame" for the ban, she was quoted as saying in an interview on before the US premiere of her film at an event in downtown Manhattan, according to India Today.
India banned the BBC documentary on the fatal rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The documentary was banned following an uproar over convicted rapist Mukesh Singh's comments blaming the victim.
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” Mukesh Singh said in an interview from jail.
Read: A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy, says Delhi bus rapist
Udwin also denied accusations in the Indian media that Mukesh Singh was either paid for his time or interviewed without his consent. A title card at the start of the film refutes the claim.
"The home minister (Rajnath Singh) blamed the protesters when these were protests on the Gandhian level, peaceful and right and good," Udwin told the Los Angeles Times. "The irony is it only became violent when the police got involved."
Read: Ban on Delhi gang-rape documentary stirs fierce debate in India
Actresses Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, Dakota Fanning and singer Chris Martin were among those at the premiere, an event organised by women's-rights groups Vital Voices and Plan International at Manhattan's Baruch College.
Streep led a candle-lighting ceremony before the screening, reading some of the victim's accounts of the assault, then issued a plea to the audience.
Read: India channel protests rape documentary ban with blank screen
"We're called here to contend with something more than rape," Streep was quoted as saying.
"What is worse than violence? Violence sanctioned by misogyny." Pinto, a producer of the movie told the Times in an interview before the screening that she saw this as "a universal story, and something I got involved with because it's not just about what happens in India".
Pinto gave an address after the screening in which she criticised even Western attitudes about the Indian gang-rape, noting a TV script she had been sent recently that contained a joke about it.
She also issued a wide-ranging plea to people as diverse policymakers and boys to shift their thinking.
Closing her speech Pinto asked people to close their eyes and be "bathed in the light, the light that was Jyoti."
Udwin also took the stage after the screening as part of a panel discussion about women's rights issues.
"The disease is not rape, and the disease is not human trafficking," she said. "The disease is gender inequality. And all these things are the metastases of the primary tumour."
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