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India's NDTV stages poignant protest of rape documentary ban

Instead of broadcasting India's Daughter last night, the television channel chose to show a blank screen

India's Daughter, the hard-hitting documentary about a young woman who died after being beaten and gang raped on a Delhi bus, was due to air in India on NDTV last night. The Indian government banned it on the grounds of "objectionable content", but NDTV chose to halt programming altogether rather than fill in the airtime with another show. 

Viewers switching to the channel were instead greeted by a blacked-out screen with the film's title and a flickering lamp in the background. NDTV editorial director Sonia Singh tweeted an image of a television screen showing the silent protest, writing: "We won't shout but we will be heard."

The hour-long documentary by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Leslee Udwin features an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the four rapists convicted of Jyoti Singh's rape and murder. He blamed Jyoti for her own assault, saying: "A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy." 

Singh also said that his victim should not have tried to defend herself: "When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after doing her and only hit the boy."

It is this controversial inclusion of the interview that led India to obtain a court order banning the documentary on the grounds that it might incite public anger. Jyoti's case ignited widespread protests across India, with Udwin describing the wave of public unrest as a "an Arab spring for gender equality".

India's Daughter was intended to be shown last night in the UK to mark International Women's Day, but was broadcast early on Wednesday after the BBC learned of India's ban.

Udwin has since left the country fearing for her safety.

If you live in the UK, you can watch India's Daughter on BBC iPlayer until Wednesday here. Watch the trailer below: