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tv   Frontline  PBS  July 20, 2021 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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>> narrator: now two stories on this special edition o frontline. first as the united states withdraws from a 20-year conflict... >> it's time to end america's longest war. narrator: there are signs iran is stepping in... and the taliban isaining ground... correspondent najibullah quraishi investigates the consequences of leaving afghanistan. >> the most likely scenario is a civil war. there is no one to stop it anymore. >> narrator: and later...
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in iia allegations of rape and political cover up... >> the girl tried to burn herself, obviously she wanted media attention, she wanted someone to listen. >> narrator: correspondent ramita navai investigates... >> there have been allegations that the chief minister has been trying to protect the accused. >> narrator: these two stories on this special addition of frontline. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. at fordfoundation.g. additional support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellence in jonalism... the john d. and catherine t.
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macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at park foundation,edicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. and additional support from koo and patricia yuen. >> good morning-- u.s. and nato troops begin pulling out of afghanistan. >> news that all u.s. and nato troops will soon leave their countr many afghans are feeling anxious about their future. >> narrator: journalist najibullah quraishi is heading into afghanistan as the u.s. military is leaving. >> it's time to end amera's longest war. it's time for american troops to
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come home. >> narrator: 20 years after an american-led coalition drove the taliban from power, the group has now regained control of as much as 80 percent of the country. >> there's a chance a taliban insurgency could topple the u.s.-backed government. >> the afghan government has warned that the withdrawal could lead to a civil war. >> a new, more turbulent chapter in thicountry's bloody history. >> narrator: fears of a taliban takeover and civil war are increasing. with the talibanaking advances almost by the day, najibullah is going into one of the group's strongholds, where an extreme faction has their base near the iranian border. he's been promised an interview with one of the taliban's original leaders, and one of its most feared warlords, mullah abdul manan niazi. >> quraishi: mullah niazi is tough, frightening, and a very dangerous man.
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t i took a risk, of course it was a big risk. i had some doubt, if he would do something bad against me. >> narrator: niazi's base is over 500 miles west of kabul, deep in taliban country, where factions regularly clash with government forces. the white flags of the taliban mark the end of the road for najibullah and his team. >> (speaking arabic) >> narrator: the last of aozen checkpoints. >> quraishi: the people who are in the checkpoint, they were coming and looking to us because probably they are seeing journalists for the first time. ♪ ♪ >> narrator: the only approach to niazi's camp is on foot.
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it's a 90-minute hike over rough terrain. >> quraishi: mullah niazi sent some troops back from the mountain to escort us. and these people were heavily armed. ♪ ♪ it was quite scary. you know, once you're inside, you cannot do anything. you have no way to come back. >> narrator: at the summit, najibullah and his colleagues are ordered into a holding cell. >> quraishi: i saw a sign saying welcome to the taliban court. at the side of the room i saw a bunch of sticks. they punish some people.
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when i saw these sticks, i said, "you're a goner." (man calling for prayer) as soon as i heard they were calling for the prayer, i immediately i thought this is the moment to come out of this cell. i wanted to show that i'm a proper muslim and i am not a spy, i am a journalist. (man praying in arabic) >> narrator: after prayers, everyone gathers on the roof. najibullah is brought out onto the top of the compound to wait. >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: then the mullah arrives. >> quraishi: if you meet niazi in person, he's smiling, he's very friendly. you think he's the best person. but behind all these smiles, he's a really, really dangerous man. >> narrator: niazi invites najibullah and the team into the main room. he launches into a victory speech for what he sees as the taliban's defeat of america. >> (speaking arabic): quraishi: >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: then niazi says something surprising: with the u.s. leaving, a new enemy is moving in-- iran. >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: the fatemiyoun brigade is an iranian-backed afghan militia. it's drawn from shia afghan refugees in iran and also from members of the hazara sh minority inside afghanistan. the fatemiyoun were deployed in syria to fight for bashar al assad. now, niazi claims iran has been sending them back to afghanist in anticipation of a civil war. >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: niazi says that almost every night he sends men to the iranian border, where they ambush fatemiyoun fighters sent from tehran. >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: he shows gruesome pictures on his phone of what he claims are dead fatemiyoun fighters. ♪ ♪ >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: there's no way to confirm the pictures he was showing, but to further demonstrate his faction's power, mullah niazi wanted najibullah and his team to see his bomb makers at work. (conversing speaking arabic)
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quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: outside on the mountaintop, mullah niazi issues a chilling threat, aimed at iran and the hazara. >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: to show he means what he says, he invites najibullah to film his men on a mission. they're setting an ambush for the fatemiyoun fighters coming over the border from iran. (music playing on radio) >> (speaking arabic): >> (speaking arabic): >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: the men plant i.e.d.s along the roadside. >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: as night falls, they take najibullah out of the area, before the long trip back to kabul. >> (speaking arabic):
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♪ ♪ >> narrator: in najibullah's 20 years covering the war here, iran's influence has always been a complex factor. it has long viewed afghanistan as a safe haven for sunni extremists. but it also cultivated ties with the taliban to extend its influence in the country. mullah niazi's claims signal a dangerous turn. >> quraishi: when niazi was talking about iran, i was doubting. this was spinning in my mind all the time while i was on the way to kabul. then i couldn't sleep for days,
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for nights, and i tried to find some other sources to support what niazi says. (horns honking) >> narrator: through his contacts, he mee a man who says he recruited afghan shias, most of them hazara, to fight with the fatemiyoun in syria. >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: he agreed to talk if we concealed his identity and disguised his voice. >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic):
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>> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): (horns honking) >> narrator: another fatemiyoun source, a veteran of the war in syria, tells najibullah that iranian officers ordered them to prepare for fighting in
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afghanistan. like the recruiter, we're concealing his identity. ♪ ♪ >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic):
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>> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: it's hard to verify the men's claims about the number of fatemiyoun in afghanistan, but it has been estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 fought in syria and several thousand returned home. the iranian foreign minister was asked about their role in afghanistan in a television interview. he said that while they had supported afghan fighters in syria, he denied they are active in afghanistan now.
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(speaking arabic): >> narrator: but the foreign minister said that it was possible that they could be deployed in afghanistan, if needed. >> (speaking abic): >> narrator: no one in the afghan government would talk to najibullah about the militia or the role of iran in the country. >> quraishi: either they don't want to talk about this issue, or either they don't know
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anything about this. >> narrator: whatever the extent of iran's involvement here, one group is increasingly in the line of fire: the hazara. najibullah heads to central afghanistan, where most of the shia minority group live. they've long been the target of taliban persecution and attacks. now their association with iran and fatemiyoun makes them a top target for taliban warlords like mullah niazi. at a hazara cemetery, najibullah meets a woman who says the taliban has been launching deadly attacks on their communy. her grandson was killed in the fighting. >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: nooria's husband was killed by the taliban just weeks earlier, leaving five childrenehind. >> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: like other ethnic groups, the hazaras are forming militias, hoping to protect their communities from the advancing taliban. a local reporter got a brief interview with a senior commander, abdul ghani alipur, who is currently in hiding.
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>> (speaking arabic): >> narrator: alipur claims to have thousands of fighters at his command. (man speaking arabic, crowd shouting) >> narrator: t militarization of the hazara has incited not just the taliban; it has brought the hazara into conflict with the afghan army. in january 2021, hazara demonstrators gathered in the
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town of behsud. government troops ended up opening fire on the crowd. homes were burned, buildings destroyed, and 11 hazaras were killed. najibullah attended a funeral for some of the victims of the attack. (crowd mourning) >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic): >> quraishi: >> (speaking arabic):
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>> narrator: seven weeks after the attack in behsud, the hazara commander, alipur, announced his forces had taken revenge. video captured an afghan military helicopter being shot down by what was later identified as an iranian-made guided missile similar to this one used in syria. (loud explosion) alipur later denied his hazara militia was involved, but afghan parliamentary commission confirmed his responsibility. the government has vowed to punish those responsible for the attack, which left nine people dead. ♪ ♪ back in kabul, najibullah meets with the spiritual leader of the hazara, mohammed mohaqiq. he is also a member of the afghan parliament, and he says
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he is fearful of the consequence of the u.s. widrawal. >> (speaking arabic): >> today president biden reaffirmed that u.s. troops are leaving afghanistan fast. >> narrator: american forces are set to be out of afghanistan by the end of august. >> staying would have meant u.s. troops taking casualties-- amican men and women, back in the middle of a civil war. >> narrator: the country now faces a future full of chaos, and continued war. >> only afghan forces remain, a
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force already facing dire circumstances as the taliban sweeps through the country. >> the taliban are gaining ground. the militants say they've taken more than ten districts... >> america's longest war may soon be coming to an end here. but afghanistan's war is not over. >> narrator: just over two weeks after najibullah's interview with mullah niazi, the taliban warlord was killed by unknown assassins. >> quraishi: it's more crazy than the past. it's worse than what i've seen in my life. >> narrator: niazi's eldest son was appointed the new leader and immediately swore vengeance. >> quraishi: i grew up in the war. i have seen everything with my own eyes, but this time is more, more dangerous than the past. and i can see a civil war in afghanistan again.
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>> narrator: coming up next on this special addition of frontline... politics and rape in india... >> no rape examination is conducted, crucial evidence is lost. >> narrator: correspondent ramita navai investigates... >> it's incredible how strong willed this woman is. it's a stunning, stunning story. >> narrator: india's rape scandal - begins right now. >> another case has shocked the nation. >> ramita navai: india has been experiencing a wave of shocking rape cases. >> there seems to be no end to the shock and horror, with brut rapes being reported on a daily basis. >> navai: the government has vowed zero tolerance.
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but dozens of politicians are facing charges of crimes against women, including ne recent rape cases. >> another woman was raped and no case was registered despite her approach to the cops. >> navai: and allegations of abuse and cover-up keep surfacing. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (car horns) i traveled into india in march 2021, just before a lethal surge in covid. i came to investigate two rape cases that had drawn police, politicians, and even the indian prime minister into controversy. my destination was the state of uttar pradesh, home to more than 200 million people. uttar pradesh is the most
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populous state in india and the most electorally significant. it also holds a less impressive statisc-- it has the second- highest reported number of rapes in the whole country. this is the woman behind one of the cases. she told us that she's been receiving death threats and is under 24/7 police protection, making it impossible to do an on-camera interview with her. she's not been publicly identified, and we've agreed to call her jaya. the man e accused of rape is kuldeep singh sengarthen a powerful politician in india's ruling bjp party. he's now in prison for jaya's rape, but still has a loyal following. ♪ ♪ we've pieced together the story of what happened from court records and our own reporting on the ground. we're following some local guides-- they're on motorbikes
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up here ahead. we're trying to get into jaya's village. jaya and her family are from unnao, the area kuldeep sengar represented in the state legislative assembly. they lived in the same village and were neighbors. what's happening? somehow, word of our visit had reached the village. even though sengar's in pron, he and his family still control the area. they explained they didn't want anyone associated with sengar or his family to see them wit foreign journalists. you're scared of being killed? >> he will not forgive anyone if someone's against him, ainst kuldeep singh sengar. >> navai: right. >> yeah. >> navai: someone who has known sengar for years agreed to speak to me, as long as we concealed his identity. >> (speaking hindi):
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>> navai: in june 2017, jaya, then 16 years old, was asked to visit sengar's house for a job interview. in her court testimony, she described what happened next. >> the door opened. we reached the courtyard. sengar caught me by my hand and dragged me to his room. he stripped me of my clothes. he clod the door and subjected me to a sexual assault. when i opposed, he said, "if you raise a voice, i will murder
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you." >> navai: jaya has testified initlly, she told only her aunt. but afterwards, some men who worked with sengar went looking for her. just days after jaya was raped by sengar, she was kidnapped from her village, bundled into a car, and brought here to the town of kanpur, whershe says she was held in a house and gang-raped for over a week. in testimony and public statemts, jaya described what she said happened to her. >> the men took turns to rape me. i recognized two of them as sengar's men. they kept me on sedatives. once, i even tried to flee, but i was caught and sedated again. >> navai: after eight days, police found jaya alone in a house. they took down the names of the men she said kidnapped and raped her, but they refused to register her rape allegation against sengar.
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♪ ♪ >> people are petrified of kuldeep sengar. he is exceptionally strong locally, financially, politically, backed by goons, by thugs. >> navai: journalist aishwarya iyer has investigated the rape case and other criminal allegations against sengar going back years. >> her allegation is that she tried to get a complaint registered against kuldeep sear, but his name was repeatedly dropped. >> navai: the uttar pradesh police did not respond to our requests for comment. a former head of the force told me the case reflects a disturbing trend of politicians interfering in police matters.
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♪ ♪ >> navai: jaya wouldn't give up. after two months, she went to the state capital, lucknow, where the chief minister was holding an open meeting for people to present their concerns. the chief minister of uttar pradesh is yogi adityanath, a hindu nationalist who's also one of the most powerful men in the country. within a year of becoming chief minister, he ordered the withdrawal of thousands of criminal cases against politicians. these cases included violence against women. adityanath is a senior memr of the ruling bjp party, and often touted as a future indian prime minister. jaya told us she w able to meet him and he assured her that her allegations would be dealt with. he then asked her to leave. >> (speaking hindi):
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>> navai: i.p. singh was expelled from the bjp in 2019 after calling its top leadership thugs. >> (speaking hindi): (continues in hindi): >> navai: court documents show the chief minister's office passed jaya's allegations to the police, but no action was taken. meanwhile, sengar telephoned jaya's uncle to pressureer to stay silent.
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i've been given a recording of one of these calls, later used in evidence. (both speaking hindi) >> navai: but jaya didn't drop the accusation. in april 2018, jaya's father, surendra, was attacked by a group of men he said were led by sengar's brother atul singh. a journalist filmed surendra afterwards, inside the police station. >> (speaking hindi): >> man (speaking hindi): >> surendra: >> navai: instead of helping surendra, local poce officers arrested him, claiming he owned an illegal weapon.
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phone records show that sengar spoke to the officers ten times ring this period. surendra suffered internal injuries and would later die. ♪ ♪ after the attack, jaya, her mother, and sister went to the chief minister's residence. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: jaya doused herself in kerosene. >> the girl tried to burn herself. obviously, she wanted media attention, she wanted someone toisten. >> (sobbing loudly) >> the policemen and security put blankets on her and ensured that she wouldn't die. but i think that's when we all woke up. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: until this moment, jaya's case had received little publicity. now there was a national outcry about it. (crowd chanting)
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sengar publicly confronted the allegations for the first time. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: the controversy drew in india's prime minister, narendra modi, who has promised zero tolerance for rape. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: the prime minister ordered in federal detectives. within days, kuldeep singh sengar was arrested. it was ten months since jaya first went to the police. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: he was later charged with rape d manslaughter. we asked chief minister yogi adityanath for comment on how the case was handled, but he didn't respond.
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publicly, he rejected criticisms that sengar had been protected. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: a month before jaya was due to give evidence in sengar's trial, there was a new development. jaya, her two aunts, and her lawyer were traveling to a meeting. that day, the police security detail protecting her wasn't with her. (sirens, screams) jaya never reached her destination. thr car was rammed by a truck with blacked-out plates. >> a rape survivor who suffered critical injuries in a car-truck collision was airlifted to new delhi. >> navai: her two aunts and her
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lawyer died. only jaya would survive. from prison, sengar denied he had anything to do with the crash. >> man (speaking hindi): >> sengar (speaking hindi): (indistinct chatter) (car horn beeps) >> navai: india's supreme court ordered 24/7 police protection for jaya, and moved sengar's trial from his home state to the capital, delhi. (horns beeping) >> i really had to be there. there was heavy security outside. sengar was brought in. he seemed scared, he was... he was nervous about what the judge was going to say. i mean, at that time, we didn't even know if the girl was going
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to survive or not. they set up a makeshift court in hospital for her to give her statement. and the judge said that her testimony was unblemished, truthful, and of sterling quality. >> this case came to the conclusion with the finding that kuldeep sengar has been convicted for rape under 376 ipc... >> navai: sengar received life in prison for jaya's rape, and ten years for manslaughter. seven others, including two police officers, were also sent to prison for their roles in the killing of jaya's father. the men charged with kidnapping and gang-raping jaya are still awaiting trial. >> it's incredible how strong- willed this woman is. to see death so close, to see your family being consumed by a complaint that you are raising, and to still be at it, how you
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are, i think that's why it's significant. it's a stunning, stunning story. ♪ ♪ >> navai: nine months later, another alarming rape case, in the hathras area of uttar pradesh, raised more allegations of political cover-up. we're about to meet a journalist, nidhi suresh, who's been investigating the hathras alleged gang rape and the alleged cover-ups, and she says she's got information to share with us. in september 2020, she spotted tweets from a family asking for help because their 19-year-old daughter manisha valmiki said she'd been raped by four neighbors. >> when we got there, there was zero press. her mother and her aunt walked us to the crime scene. it was just a small clearing. which, by the way, the police had not sealed, right?
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it waspen completely. she just kept saying, "something bad happened to my daughter, something bad happened to my daughter," and she spoke about how she found her without any clothes. >> (speaking hindi, crying): (sobbing) ♪ ♪ >> navai: we travel to manisha's village. the indian cte sysm is powerful here. manisha's family is from a lower caste. the men she said raped her are thakur an influential high caste who own the majority of land here, and include many police officers and politicians like the chief minister, yogi adityanath. the parents of the men manisha accused agreed to meet me.
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their sons are in jail awaiting trial. they insted that manisha hadn't been raped, but that her own family had beaten her up as punishment for having a relationship with one of the accused men. >> (speaking hindi): >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: after manisha's mother found her, she was taken to the local police station to report the attack. she'd been strangled and her spinal cord was damaged. a journalist happened to be there and filmed her. >> man (speaking hindi): >> manisha (speaking hindi):
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>> navai: in their report, the police noted she'd been violently assaulted, but did not include her allegation of rape. eventually, manisha was taken to aligarh hospital. manisha's cousin was with her. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: three days later, as the story began to get out, manisha was filmed by another local journalist. >> (speaking hindi):
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>> the hospital has not asked her if there's been a sexual assault. no rape examination is conducted. crucial evidence is lost. so according to the family, the doctors tell them that till they have a police complaint which registers rape, they're not going to do anything about it. >> navai: the family went back to the police to try to get them to record the rape allegation. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: no one from the police would respond to our questions about how the case was handled. but according to official records, it wasn't until eight days later, as media reporting was gaining pace, that the
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police fully registered the rape allegations and asked doctors at the hospital to gather forensic evidence. >> they don't find semen. but again, it's been t long after the incident. one of the doctors we spoke to said there were quite a few people among them, the medical stf, who were asked to sign a statement saying she did not look raped. >> navai: we spoke to several doctors involved in manisha's treatment, but they were too frightened to appear on camera. they told us police and local ficials asked them to downplay any evidence of rape. ♪ ♪ by now, manisha's case had captured the attention of chandrashekhar azad, who leads the bhim army, which fights for lower-caste rights. >> (speaking hindi):
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>> navai: chandrashekhar recorded his journey to hathras, swapping vehicles to dodge the police. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: he reached manisha and began filming. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: fearing manisha would not survive, her family had a video statement from her made that could be used in court.
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>> man (speaking hindi): >> manisha (speaking hindi): >> man: >> manisha: >> man: >> manisha: >> by then, she had suffered paralysis on all four of her limbs, she was having breathing difficulties. there were protests outside the hospital. and on 29th, she passed away. >> navai: that evening, journalists followed the police taking manisha's body back to her village. the family's request for an independent postmortem were ignored. (crowd clamoring) >> (speaking hindi):
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>> (speaking hindi): (people sobbing and wailing) >> (speaking hindi): >> (speang hindi, crying): >> navai: manisha's cousin told me the family were confined to their homes. and in the dead of night, the police cremated her body. >> (speaking hindi):
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♪ ♪ >> navai: in the aermath, one of uttar pradesh's most senior police officers denied manisha had ever been raped. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: some b politicians also publicly denied any rape had happened. >> (speaking hindi): >> navai: the day after manisha was cremated, her family was visited by the disict magistrate, who encouraged them to withdraw thrape allegation. neeraj filmed him. >> (speaking hindi):
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>> (speaking hindi): >> navai: the video went viral and fueled more unrest around the case. chief minister yogi adityanath blamed the outrage on opposition parties and an international conspiracy to undermine him. the trial of the four men manisha accused has been delayed by covid. their lawyer claims manisha's video statements about the rape were fabricated. there have been allegations that the chief minister, yogi adityanath's office, has been ying to cover up this gang
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rapethat he's been trying to protect the accused. >> (speaking hindi): ♪ ♪ >> navai: cases like manisha's and jaya's continue to polarize india, pitting politics against families' search for jusce. one of india's most respected and senior legal figures told me these ses should be a wake-up call for more accountability when it comes to violence against women. >> it's completely inexplicable. why should anybody, you know... (chuckling): i mean, not only the prime minister, noonly the chief minister-- why should anybody, you know, remn silent when something like this happens, you know? they should speak out.
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it doesn't matter who the perpetrator is. the government, the state, the police machinery-- erybody-- should come out in the open and say that ts is wrong. >> go to for an interview with correspondent ramita navai. >> it has the second highest reported number of rapes in the whole country. >> learn more about the fatemiyoun brigade - and why it makes the taliban nervous. revisit our films on nearly 20 years of war in afghanistan. connect with frontline on facebook, instagram, twitter and tiktok and stream anytime on the pbs app or >> i was never good at being no type of scam artist. this is the first time in my life i'm ever really trying to run a scam. >> they got convicted on not
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what they were able to do but what they were able to say. >> the question is, are they willing to commit these acts? >> my mind can't see that it's the feds that's pulling the strings. >> they gave who they thought to be an al-qaeda operative exactly what he had asked for. >> they had no money. they had no weapons. they weren't even islamic extremists. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. at additional support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellence in journalism... the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world.
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more information at park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. and additional support from koo and patricia yuen. captioned by media access group at wgbh >> for more on this and other "frontne" programs, visit our website at ♪ ♪ frontline's, "leaving afghanistan" d "india's rape scandal" are available on amazon pre video. ♪ ♪
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you're watching pbs. >> ...grapple with the impact of the ongoing pandemic... >> narrator: the truth is rarely black and white. >> ...protesters versus frontline workers... >> ...filled with so much uncertainty... >> narrator: but if we ask the hard questions... >> ...death toll in the u.s. tops 400 thousand... >> narrator: check the facts. >> ...the internet is disrupting... >> amazon taking over the world a good thing?” >> narrator: dig a little deeper. >> boom! >> narrator: and take a breath.. the truth is closer than you think.
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