Reverse release of Bilkis Bano convicts: Congress MLAs to President
While terming the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case "extremely shocking," three Congress MLAs from Gujarat have written to President Droupadi Murmu, seeking that the decision is reversed. The legislators are Gyasuddin Shaikh, Imran Khedawala, and Javed Pirzada who have written a letter to the President regarding Bano's gang rape and killing of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Why does this story matter?
- Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when riots erupted in Gujarat following the burning of the Sabarmati express train.
- On March 3, 2002, Bano and her family were attacked by a mob that raped her and slaughtered her family members in Randhikpur hamlet near Ahmedabad.
- Over 1,000 people were reportedly killed in the Gujarat riots in 2002.
What other things the letter highlighted?
According to the letter, the MLAs resolved to petition the President to intervene and order the Union Home Ministry and the Gujarat government to immediately revoke the decision of the early release of the 11 convicts. The statement described the decision to free the convicts of the horrible act of gang rape of Bano on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day as startling.
Read the letter by Congress MLAs here
बिलकिस बानो केस को लेकर गुजरात कांग्रेस के विधायक @Gyasuddin_INC साहब,@Imran_khedawala, जावेद पीरजादा साहब ने भारत के महामहिम राष्ट्रपति द्रौपदी मुर्मू को पत्र लिखा@aajtak @Zee24Kalak @GSTV_NEWS @abpasmitatv @ndtvindia @ZeeNews @indiatvnews @zeesalaamtweet pic.twitter.com/cMgqMpPgCh— Gyasuddin Shaikh MLA (@Gyasuddin_INC) August 19, 2022
Decision sets a dangerous precedence: Congress MLAs
The MLAs further stated that although PM Narendra Modi is preaching about respecting women, his home state's BJP administration has chosen to free the prisoners convicted of gangraping a five-month pregnant woman and murdering seven of her family members. The release of such "hardened criminals" as well as the manner in which they are welcomed, creates a "dangerous precedent," the legislators pointed out.
Rape convicts walked free on Independence Day
The 11 rape convicts in the Bano case were released on Independence Day, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of women's empowerment from the Red Fort's ramparts. Later, videos of their cordial reception by a right-wing group surfaced. Following the criticism, the Gujarat government defended its decision, claiming that the decision was taken in accordance with a 1992 Supreme Court directive.
Judge who convicted 11 says for court to see
Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced the 11 men to life imprisonment asked the court to look into the matter. "The judgment was delivered a long time ago. Now it is up to the government. The state has to make a decision. Whether it is correct or not is for the court concerned or a superior court to see," Justice (retd) UD Salvi said.