Bengaluru protests release of Bilkis Bano’s rapists

Insight Online News

Bengaluru, Aug 27 :Students and rights activists here on Saturday staged a protest at Freedom Park against remission of sentence granted to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case by BJP government in Gujarat.

While flaunting placards condemning the release of the convicts, the protestors alleged that the Gujarat government was targeting minorities in the country.

The Gujarat government on August 15 granted remission to all 11 convicts after a Supreme Court direction asking it to consider the case of one of the convicts as per its 1992 remission policy on the basis of the date of his conviction.

A special CBI court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008 had sentenced to life imprisonment all the 11 accused in the case for murder and gang rape. Their conviction was later upheld by Bombay High Court.

The convicts had served more than 15 years in prison. They were accused of gang raping Bano, who was pregnant during 2002 post-Godhra train burning incident. They are also accused of gang raping Bano’s mother and three other women.

Speaking to reporters at Freedom Park, senior advocate BT Venkatesh said the release of the convicts is unconstitutional and they do not deserve remission for their heinous crime like gang rape. He urged political parties including BJP to raise voice against Gujarat government’s decision.

On Tuesday, a case was filed in the Supreme Court challenging remission granted to 11 convicts by Gujarat government.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana has agreed to look into the matter after advocate Aparna Bhat mentioned the matter seeking an urgent listing on Wednesday.

The plea was filed by CPI-M member Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, and social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma.

Earlier in a statement, Bano said the trauma of the past 20 years washed over her again when she heard the release of 11 convicts who devastated her family and her life, and took from her a three-year-old daughter.

She also said the decision has left her numb and raised questions against the judiciary. “How can justice for any woman end like this?

“I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice,” Bano said.


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