Delhi bus attacker: Rape victim should not have hit back

Leslee Udwin, director of India's Daughter, was in New Delhi yesterday. Picture: Getty
Leslee Udwin, director of India's Daughter, was in New Delhi yesterday. Picture: Getty
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One of the men convicted of raping and killing a woman in a brutal 2012 gang attack on a New Delhi bus has said 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, said Mukesh Singh, who was driving the bus for much of the time that the woman was being attacked.

“Then they would have dropped her off after ‘doing her’,” he said in the film, India’s Daughter, which was directed by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin.

It is due to be released next week; the filmmakers released transcripts of the interview, which was recorded in 2013, yesterday.

“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” Singh said, according to the transcripts. “A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night.

“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”

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The woman and her male friend were returning home from seeing a film at a shopping mall when they were tricked by the men into getting on the bus, which they had taken out for a joyride.

The attackers beat her friend and took turns raping the woman. They also assaulted her with a rod, leaving severe internal injuries that caused her death.

Singh and three other men were convicted in a fast-track court in 2013. They confessed to the attack but later retracted their confessions, saying they had been tortured into admitting their involvement. The appeals against their death sentences are pending in the Supreme Court.

India, where many people have long believed that women are responsible for rape, was shocked into action after the attack. The government rushed through legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalising voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. The law also makes it a crime for police officers to refuse to open cases when complaints are made.

In the interview, Singh suggested the attack was to teach the woman and her male friend a lesson that they should not have been out late at night. He added: “She should just be silent and allow the rape.”

He said the death penalty would make it worse: “Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her.”

The documentary will be shown on 8 March – which is International Women’s Day – in India, Britain, Denmark, Sweden and several other countries.

Jagmati Sangwan, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, said Singh’s comments showed he had no remorse for the crime.

Ms Sangwan added that changing the mindset in India is not easy, with many politicians and religious leaders encouraging conservative forces by dictating how women should dress and enforcing strict social norms about gender roles.

“The solution [lies] in more and more women taking up jobs in various fields and the government creating an environment of safety and security for them in trains, buses and public places,” she said.

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 Ms Udwin had agreed to allow them to see the footage before it was released.

“We want to see the documentary as it can be screened only after it was approved by authorities,” said jail spokesman Mukesh Prasad.