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Indian Lawyers May Be Reprimanded for Sexist Remarks in Rape Documentary

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The two defense lawyers featured in controversial documentary India’s Daughter may face action from the Delhi Bar Council and the Bar Council of India after their sexist statements caused public outrage.

The lawyers are shown in the documentary echoing and even endorsing the views of their client — a man convicted of the gang rape of a New Delhi student in 2012 and who blames his victim and believes women should not be out at night.

“We will have a meeting then and discuss what can be done,” Manan Mishra, chairman of the Bar Council of India, told the Indian Express.

The council leadership is set to meet on Friday, despite it being the Indian religious holiday Holi, in order to discuss the comments of M.L. Sharma and A.K. Singh in the documentary.

“We have taken this very seriously,” Mishra told local news channel NDTV. “Prima facie, this appears to be a clear case of professional misconduct.”

The film, directed by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, was banned from being broadcast in India over worries that comments by convicted rapist Mukesh Singh would cause public unrest. Singh is shown making a host of shocking statements, including that girls are far more responsible for rape than boys and that they are only meant for housework.

But after the BBC released the documentary online on YouTube on Wednesday (despite the government’s best efforts to block it there as well), there was a greater uproar over the statements of the two lawyers — Sharma, at one point, says: “In our culture, there is no place for a woman,” while A.K. Singh said he would set his daughter on fire if he found her indulging in “premarital activities.”

Both men continued to show scant remorse for their words, with Sharma telling NDTV that he had “committed no crime.” His colleague called those against him “biased” and said he received many calls supporting his views.

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com