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Indian activist held after screening banned rape film

LUCKNOW: An Indian social activist told Tuesday how he had been detained by police and had his computer equipment impounded after organising a public screening of a banned documentary about a savage gang-rape.

Plans by the national NDTV network to broadcast the “India’s Daughter” documentary on Sunday to mark International Women’s Day were thwarted when authorities obtained a banning order on the grounds the film risked fuelling public anger.

But Ketan Dixit, an activist and film-maker who has campaigned extensively against acid attacks on women, decided to put on a screening in a village near the Taj Mahal city of Agra on the same evening as an act of defiance.

Dixit was subsequently arrested by police and questioned for several hours before being finally released without charge.

“The police official told me that he was letting me off as he did not have any document on the basis of which I could be arrested,” Dixit told AFP.

“However he seized my laptop, projector, and other equipment for some investigation.”

Akhilesh Bhadoriya, deputy superintendent of police in Agra, confirmed that Dixit had been arrested.

“The action was in response to the screening of this documentary which has been banned by the government. We have seized the screening equipment of Ketan Dixit and are probing the case.”

The documentary by award-winning British filmmaker Leslee Udwin focuses on the murder and gang-rape of a 23-year-old student who was attacked on a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012.

The Indian government reacted furiously when it emerged that Udwin had managed to interview one of the convicted rapists, who blamed the victim for the attack which caused mass protests at the time. -AFP

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