London: India committed "international suicide" by banning a documentary about the gang rape and murder of a woman in Delhi, said Leslee Udwin, the maker of controversial documentary film ‘India's Daughter' based on December 16 rape incident, after the film was screened in London on Friday night.
Last week, India had prohibited the release of the film and had also asked the video-sharing site YouTube to remove all links to the documentary.
According to police the ban was imposed as the statements of one of the rape convicts in the documentary creates an atmosphere of “fear and tension” and risks fuelling public anger.
"My whole purpose was to give a gift of gratitude to India, to actually praise India, to single India out as a country that was exemplary in its response to this rape, as a country where one could actually see change beginning," said Leslee Udwin, director of the documentary, during a panel discussion.
"The supreme irony is that they are now accusing me of having wanted to point fingers at India, defame India, and it is they who have committed international suicide by banning this film."
The British filmmaker said that she was inspired to make the film after watching thousands of people take to streets across India to protest the dreadful rape.
India toughened its anti-rape laws in response to the outcry following the fatal attack but a rape is still reported on average every 21 minutes in India, and acid attacks, domestic violence and molestation are common.
The documentary “India's daughter” features an interview of one of the rape-accused and death-sentenced, Mukesh Singh, for rape, torture and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus.
In the film Singh blames the victim for the crime and resisting rape.
Singh's comments grabbed headlines in Indian newspapers and sparked outrage on social media. Some people have questioned whether the convicts should have been given a forum to express their views.
Udwin said that banning the film brought disrepute to India as it has obstructed free speech.
The filmmaker said that she was hopeful the film would eventually be screened in India and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "be a hero globally" and stand up to his statements promoting gender equality.
She said her documentary was designed to unleash a global campaign to stop violence against women and to promote their rights.