Gujarat: Bilkis Bano gangrape convict shares stage with BJP leaders
One of the 11 Bilkis Bano gangrape case convicts, released prematurely last year, was seen sharing the stage with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including an MP and an MLA, on Sunday at a government program in Gujarat. The rape convict attended the launch of a water supply scheme with Dahod BJP MP Jasvantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor and his brother, MLA Sailesh Bhabhor, NDTV reported.
Why does this story matter?
- Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when an angry mob attacked her during the 2002 Gujarat riots in Ahmedabad's Randhikpur village.
- She was reportedly gang-raped, and numerous members of her family were murdered.
- However, last year on August 15, the Gujarat government released the gangrape and murder convicts under the state's 1992 remission and premature release policy.
Details on picture of convict with BJP leaders
Several photographs and videos from the event posted on social media showed Shailesh Chimanlal Bhatt, one of the 11 convicts in the Bano case, on stage with BJP MLA Sailesh and MP Jasvantsinh. Furthermore, the convict was seen posing for photos with the saffron brigade leaders and also took part in the puja at the event.
Opposition lambasts BJP over matter
The incident has sparked a massive political uproar, with the opposition taking fresh digs at the BJP. Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to post a photo of Bano's rapist sharing the stage with BJP leaders, writing, "I want this satanic government that applauds this travesty of justice voted out." "I want India to reclaim her moral compass," she added.
Twitter post by TMC leader Moitra
'India is watching!' says K Kavitha
Meanwhile, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha expressed her opinion on the issue, saying, "India is watching!" "What have we become as a community that perpetrators of heinous crimes against women are being celebrated and given a platform while the victims splead for justice," she wrote on Twitter.
Kavitha's tweet on the matter
Know about charges against 11 accused
In 2008, Mumbai's special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court convicted 13 people in the Bano case. While one of the accused passed away during the trial, seven others were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. It later sentenced 11 members to life imprisonment for murder, raping a pregnant woman, and unlawful assembly. Their conviction was upheld by the Bombay High Court later.
Details on other accused in Bilkis Bano case
The other 10 accused in the murder and rape case are Jaswant Chaturbhai Nai, Radheshyam Shah, Bakabhai Vadaniya, Rajibhai Soni, Keshubhai Vadaniya, Rameshbhai Chauhan, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Mitesh Bhatt, Pradip Modhiya, and Govindbhai Nai. Notably, Bano has filed a plea at the Supreme Court (SC) over the premature release of the convicts.