The Gujarat government’s decision to free 11 defendants in the Bilkis Bano riots case caused great controversy. Despite the BJP’s silence, the state government’s decision to release the criminals serving life sentences for rape and murder following its remission policy drew harsh criticism from all sides, particularly the Opposition.
Ms. Bano, then 21 and five months pregnant, was gang-raped by a mob during the riots in Gujarat in 2002, and seven members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, were killed during the unrest. Despite a notification from the ministry of home affairs in June stating that rape convicts could not be released as part of a special release policy for convicted prisoners as part of the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations, the state government permitted the release of the 11 prisoners found guilty of the crime.
In response to the Supreme Court’s directives in May to take into account a remission appeal by one of the convicts, the Gujarat government contends that the men were released under the state government’s policies.
Yakub Rasul, the husband of Ms. Bano, responded to the news by expressing amazement that all 11 of the prisoners had been freed. More than 20 years after the tragedy, Rasul claimed that he, his wife, and their five sons—the oldest of whom is now 20 years old—remain without a fixed address.
Politicking around the issue has started because the release is near the Gujarat Assembly elections, which are scheduled towards the end of the year and in which the BJP is vying for a sixth consecutive term in power. Congress, AIMIM, RJD, CPI-M, and TMC criticised the Gujarat BJP administration over the action.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera called the decision “unique” and claimed that it reveals the mindset of the BJP government in Gujarat. Mr. Khera questioned whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi meant what he stated at a news conference in Delhi, citing the PM’s Independence Day speech in which he spoke about women’s power and respect.
“You excused the offenders by pointing out that they had served 14 years of their sentence, that they had been excellent prisoners, and that the offence was minor. Doesn’t rape fall under the category of crimes that require the toughest punishment possible—any term is insufficient—if we only take the nature of the act into account? And today, we witnessed that those who were exonerated are now being honoured and felicitated. Amrit Mahotsav is this? “questioned Mr. Khera.
The Congressman reminded Mr. Modi of “Raj Dharma,” which the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee—whose passing was commemorated on Tuesday—had previously discussed on a visit to Gujarat following the 2002 riots. “If what PM Modi said in his Red Fort speech was empty rhetoric, he should explain it in public. Is the PM not saying what he means? Or is it because his party and its governments no longer take him seriously? Or does he say one thing to the nation and another to the leadership of his party? Either the Gujarati government should revoke its directive, or PM Modi should retract his statements.” stated Mr. Khera.
The release of these 11 inmates, according to AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, is “appeasement politics” before the Gujarat state elections. “More regrettably, the Prime Minister spoke on Independence Day from the Red Fort about giving women more influence. It sets a bad precedent and sends an incorrect message to the Muslim community. Another offence against Bilkis Bano has been committed with this. Bilkis Bano is given brand-new wounds. I wish the BJP would use common sense “added Mr. Owaisi.
Added he, “The BJP’s interpretation of Azadi ka Amrit is this. People who committed horrific crimes have been released. Due to the BJP’s hostility against a certain religion, even savage rape and hate crimes are excused.”
Ejaz Ahmad, a spokesman for RJD, said: “Regarding Nari Samman, PM Modi made strong words, saying that one should not disparage women. But a few hours later, the Gujarati government freed those found guilty in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case.”
The Gujarat government’s directive was also denounced by the CPI-M. “The Gujarat government’s decision to commute the life sentences of the gangrapists and perpetrators of the 2002 genocide in the Bilkis Bano case is vehemently condemned by the CPI (M).
The release of convicted murderers and rapists represents the true face of New India. Teesta, an activist who battled for justice, was imprisoned “The event tweeted.
The Gujarat government has released “All 11 monsters who were convicted of this horrible crime” against Bilkis Bano, according to TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale’s tweet. “Where is the outrage? Not even a squeak “He questioned.
Jaswantbhai Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radheshyam Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt, and Ramesh Chandana are the 11 prisoners who were given early releases.