Sri Lankan movie No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka has been released online after it was banned in several countries including India.

The movie’s British director Callum Macrae told AFP that the film will be available for free in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka – the countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute documentary is a collection of footage recorded in northeastern Sri Lanka by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting.

The movie is uploaded on Vimeo and also has apps for iPad and Android tablets so you can watch the clips that were used in the making of the movie. The website also lets you request and organise screenings in your city. It is worth noting that the movie was screen at India International Centre in November last year.

When banned, release online: A public online release seems to be the fallback plan for everyone whose work is being banned in India.

Earlier this year when Bloomsbury Publishing withdrew Jitender Bhargava‘s book ‘The Descent of Air India’ following a case filed by former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, the author had said that he plans to release the book in an e-book format, apart from releasing the book via a new publisher.

This begs the question, if something can be banned in India and then it can be released online, why bother banning it at all? While in the case of the book there was a possible lawsuit that led to the book being banned, censor board had no justification for banning the movie. By banning such a movie, is the Indian government trying to say they are willing to sweep human rights violations under the carpet?

India has a history of blocking websites and we all know that it’s easier for the government to ban e-books than a hard copy, so there’s a big question as to what happens to these banned material that’s released online.