PBS Frontline documentary, 'India's Rape Scandal', investigates Unnao and Hathras rape cases

The documentary also reports on 'allegations of cover-ups' in both cases.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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On April 20, a documentary titled India's Rape Scandal was released by American public broadcaster PBS as part of its Frontline programming.

A Quicksilver Media production, it investigated two rapes that took place in Uttar Pradesh. The first was the 2017 Unnao rape of a minor by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar; the second was the 2020 Hathras case where a Dalit woman was gangraped by four upper caste men. She later died and her body was forcibly cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police.

Investigated and reported by journalist Ramita Navai and directed, filmed and produced by Jess Kelly, the documentary covered the two rapes and "allegations of cover-ups, despite the fact that the government has vowed zero tolerance". It featured conversations with, among others, former Supreme Court judge Madan Lokur; former IPS officer Vibhuti Narayan Rai; Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad; and former BJP leader IP Singh.

Two journalists were also interviewed as part of the documentary: Quint reporter Aishwarya S Iyer and Newslaundry reporter Nidhi Suresh.

In a Q&A about the documentary, Navai said the "level of authorities' complicity in trying to cover up rapes...goes beyond anything I’ve investigated before".

"Also, rape has become a very political issue, in a way it hasn’t in many other countries," she said. "That's because the current prime minister, Narendra Modi, used terrifying rape statistics as a stick to beat opposition parties with, when he was in opposition."

The documentary is not available for viewing in India, though its transcript is available here.

Check out Newslaundry's coverage of the Hathras case here.

Also see
article imageHathras: The curious case of courtroom CCTV footage
article imageWhy didn’t Hathras cop listen when Dalit girl said she’d been gangraped? He had piles, he says
article imageRevisiting Hathras: ‘Why wasn’t my sister taken seriously when she was alive?’


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