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Bilkis Bano can never get justice, and then she was raped and now stunned

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bilkis bano, godhra case, godhra kand, gujarat 2002, gujarat riots, 2002 gujarat riots, court, high court
Image: Bilkis Bano / File Photo

In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi asked Indians to take a pledge not to do anything that lowers the dignity of women… The Gujarat BJP government released criminals convicted of gang rape on the same day. All the eleven convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gang rape case and murder of her seven family members were allowed to walk freely on Monday under its remission policy. The eleven convicts had served more than 15 years in jail.

This tragedy was followed by the burning of the Sabarmati Express coach which killed 59 ‘karsevaks’ on February 27, 2002, violence erupted, and Bilkis Bano, who was five-month pregnant at that time, fled her village with her toddler daughter and 15 others. Bilkis Bano along with her daughter and other family members had taken shelter in a field when a mob of 20-30 people with arms attacked them Bilkis Bano was gang raped, while seven members of her family were murdered.  However, six other members managed to run away from the spot. In August 2004, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai after Bilkis Bano expressed anxieties that witnesses could be harmed and the evidence collected by the CBI tampered.

On January 21, 2008, the special CBI Court sentenced the eleven accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family. They were all convicted on charges of conspiring to rape a pregnant woman, murder and unlawful assembly under the Indian Penal Code. Seven other accused were acquitted by the special court for want of evidence while one accused died during the trial.

In April 2019, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation, a job, and a house to Bilkis Bano. The 11 convicts who have been granted premature release are Rajubhai Soni, Radhesham Shah, Kesarbhai Vohania, Shailesh Bhatt, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Bakabhai Vohania, Ramesh Chandana, Pradeep Mordhiya, Jaswantbhai Nai, Mitesh Bhatt, Govindbhai Nai. Besides these 11, a police constable was also convicted and got three years in jail. There was an action against other police officers, too, for shielding the rioters and tampering with evidence.

Bilkis was paid the said amount but the government has not yet made any arrangements for a job or house as directed by the court. They don’t have a fixed address yet. The house that they had was vandalised and burned. On the other hand, after the release of the rapist from the Godhra jail the convicts were welcomed with sweets and garlands. There was a celebration and no regrets for what they did to a pregnant lady.

The decision to release them was taken as per the state government’s 1992 policy — a decision that appears to be in conflict with a recent policy of the BJP’s central government against releasing rapists. On March 3, 2002, when they gang-raped Bilkis Bano, who was 21 at the time. Now she is in her forties. Waited all this while for justice, but she was given shocked by the release of her rapists.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Tamanhttps://authorvaidehi.com
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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1 COMMENT

  1. FromRedFort, on Independence Day , the Prime Minister of India , gave a speech for more than an hour , advising Public to respect women, it leads to the Nation becoming developed Nation.

    When Gujarat Government released 11 life convicts who raped a pregnant lady and killed seven members of her family , they were glorified as heroes . Prime Minister not condemning the remission , release and honoring the convicts , keeping silent is not fair, at all. The whole world wonders , why.- KLRao

    KLRao

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