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Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto attend 'India's Daughter' U.S. premiere

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Craig Ruttle/AP

Controversial documentary India’s Daughter chronicles the life and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old Indian medical student who was brutally gang-raped on a bus in 2012 and died from injuries sustained during the attack. The documentary premiered stateside on Monday, and Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Slumdog Millionaire actress Freida Pinto were in attendance. 

The screening, held at Baruch College in New York, began with a vigil. Streep lit about a dozen candles in the victim’s memory. 

“Tonight we light these candles to honor the value and the work of Jyoti Singh’s short, promising life,” Streep said according to the AP. “She was India’s daughter. Tonight she’s our daughter too.”

India’s Daughter has been banned in India following comments made by one of the convicted rapists, Mukesh Singh, during an interview for the film. The man essentially blamed Jyoti Singh, the victim, and appeared to show no remorse. The decision to ban the film was in the “interest of maintaining public order,” according to Indian officials. 

“This film in no way is propagating violence in order to solve the problem. In fact, what we’re saying is let’s do this in the most civilized possible way ever,” Pinto told the AP before the screening. “This is not just an India problem; this is a problem that inflicts almost every country in the world,” Pinto said. “There’s not a single country in 2015 that is free of sexual violence against women.”

Pinto is an ambassador for the Because I Am a Girl campaign, which supports girls’ education.