All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday slammed centre over granting remission to 11 convicts in the case related to Bilkis Bano gang-rape and murder of her kin during 2002 Gujarat riots and said that the BJP government has taken a double standard policy.
Talking to agencies, Owaisi said, “In his address from Red Fort, PM Modi spoke about women empowerment, but on the same day 11 accused in a rape and murder case were released through the remission policy. There is a government circular that says the rapists should not be remitted on Independence day and BJP has taken the decision against that too.” He alleged that whatever BJP is doing, is just for winning the upcoming Gujarat Election.
“As a woman, you can understand Bilkis Bano’s pain. She cannot be seen as a Muslim, but this is a matter of justice and we demand to cancel the remission order and send the convicts to jail,” he said.
Demanding justice for Bano, Owaisi further said, “Then Gujarat Chief Minister is the Prime Minister now, but Bilkis Bano is still on the road. We request PM Modi with folded hands to give justice to her.”
He took Twitter also and said, “In his Independence Day speech, Modi had asked Indians to take a pledge not to do anything that lowers the dignity of women. He said something about supporting “Nari Shakti”. Gujarat BJP govt released criminals convicted of gang rape on the same day. The message is clear.”
Kavita Krishnan, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation leader, also tweeted, “On Independence Day 2022 when PM Modi was giving a speech asking us to respect women, support “Nari Shakti”, Gujarat CM was releasing 11 convicted gang-rapists of Bilkis Bano on remission. Can Narendra Modi tell us, is Bilkis not part of your “Nari Shakti” because she’s Muslim?”
All the 11 life-term convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.
In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter.
She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara. In 2008, a special court in Mumbai sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment.
It was later upheld by the Bombay High Court. In 2019, the Supreme Court even directed the state government to give her Rs 50 lakh as compensation to Bano, besides a house and a job.