'India's Rape Scandal': Docu on Hathras, Unnao Cases to Be Screened in UK

The documentary delves into the 2017 Unnao rape of a minor and the 2020 Hathras case.

2 min read

India's Rape Scandal – a documentary by Emmy-winning investigative journalist Ramita Navai – will be aired on UK's Channel 4 on Tuesday, 27 July. It looks into two rape cases in Uttar Pradesh and the process of 'systemic coverage' of the crime in the country. It has been directed, filmed, and produced by Jess Kelly.

A Quicksilver Media production, the documentary delves into the 2017 Unnao rape of a minor by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar; it also deep-dives into the 2020 Hathras case where a Dalit woman was gang-raped by four upper caste men. While the victim passed away after battling injuries from the incident, her body was forcibly cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police.

"The stories of the Unnao and Hathras rapes enabled us to examine how in India in 2021, despite all the attention and even Prime Minister Modi’s assurances and protestations, rapists are still getting away with it - and that’s because of systematic cover ups and officials’ complicity in protecting powerful rapists and protecting the vote bank. We wanted to clearly pick apart how and why this is still happening and reveal the level of corruption that enables this to happen – without addressing this corruption, most men will continue to get away with rape in India," Navai told The Quint.

The documentary features two journalists who covered the rapes from ground zero – The Quint's Aishwarya S Iyer and Newslaundry's Nidhi Suresh. It also features former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur, former IPS officer Vibhuti Narayan Rai, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad.

"Also, when I first came across the figure, by the Association of Democratic Reform, of 76 politics facing charges of crimes against women, with nine MPs and MLAs facing charges of rape, that floored me. That’s an inconceivable number of men in positions of power, entrusted to help run a country, who are abusing women. How does a country allow this? How does a government deal with this? How is this possible? A very fundamental tenet of this job is to hold power to account – and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. We must shout about these stories until women stop getting raped and murdered and abused," Navai added.

While the documentary was released by American public broadcaster PBS on 20 April, it is unlikely to release in India. However, you can access the transcript of the documentary here.

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