Ahmedabad/ New Delhi8 hours agoAuthor: Sandhya Dwivedi
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Bilkis Bano, 5 months pregnant, was gang-raped during the Gujarat riots. His mother and three other women were also raped. There was celebration at home after the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Gujarat government’s decision to prematurely release 11 Bilkis Bano gangrape convicts from jail during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. After the verdict, firecrackers were burst at Bilkis’s house. Bilkis Bano thanked the Supreme Court.
He said that actually today the new year has started for me. My eyes are wet with tears of relief. Today, for the first time in the last one and a half years, a smile has appeared on my face. I hugged my children and I feel as if a stone as big as a mountain has been lifted from my chest today. Now I am able to breathe. This is the feeling of justice.
Earlier, while giving the verdict, the bench of Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuiyan said – Punishment is given to stop crime. We will also have to be concerned about the suffering of the victim. The bench said that the Gujarat government has no right to take the decision of release. He has misused his power and authority.
How can she forgive the culprits? If the hearing took place in Maharashtra, the decision on release will also be taken by the government there. The state where the criminal is tried and sentenced has the right to decide on the pardon petition of the convicts.
Along with this comment, the Supreme Court also canceled the decision of Justice Ajay Rastogi (Retd) in May 2022, in which 11 convicts were allowed to appeal to the Gujarat government for early pardon. The Gujarat government released him on 15 August 2022. The bench asked all the 11 convicts to surrender within 2 weeks.
A petition was filed against the culprits of Bilkis on November 30.
Two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court on 30 November 2022 against the release of 11 Bilkis convicts. In the first petition, challenging the release of 11 convicts, there was a demand to send them back to jail immediately. In the second petition, a demand was made to consider the order given by the Supreme Court in May.
The court had said that the Gujarat government will take the decision on the release of the culprits. Bilkis said that when the trial of the case was going on in Maharashtra, then how can the Gujarat government take the decision? All the 11 convicts in the case were released as part of the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence.
Justice Nagarathna: Plato had said that punishment is not for retribution but for reformation. In the curative theory, punishment is compared to medicine, if a criminal is possible to be treated, he should be freed. This is the basis of restorative theory, but the rights of the victim are also important. Women deserve respect. Can immunity be given in heinous crimes against women? These are the issues that arise.
Justice Nagarathna: We proceed to consider the writ petitions both on merits and maintainability. These things come to light after listening to both the sides in this matter. 1. Is the petition filed by the victim under Section 32 maintainable? 2. Are PILs questioning the exemption order admissible? 3. Was the Gujarat government able to pass the exemption order? 4, Was the order for remission given to the culprits as per law?
Justice Nagarathna: Quoting George Bernard Shaw, he said – People do not improve by stumbling. Justice Nagarathna said that the place of occurrence of the crime and the place of imprisonment are not relevant considerations. Where the criminal is prosecuted and sentenced, that is the right government.
Emphasis is placed on the place of trial rather than the place where the crime was committed. The judgment dated May 13, 2022 (which had directed the Gujarat government to consider pardoning the convicts) was obtained by defrauding the court and concealing material facts.
Bilkis was 5 months pregnant during the riots
Riots broke out in Gujarat on 3 March 2002 after the Godhra incident. During the riots, a furious mob had entered the house of Bilkis Bano in Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. Bilkis was hiding in a field with her family to escape the rioters. Bilkis was then 21 years old and was 5 months pregnant.
Bilkis was gang raped by rioters
Bilkis was gang raped by the rioters. His mother and three other women were also raped. In this attack, 7 out of 17 members of his family were killed. 6 people were found missing, who were never found. Only Bilkis, a man and a three-year-old child survived the attack.
In 2008, 11 convicts got life imprisonment
The gang rape accused were arrested in 2004. In January 2008, the CBI special court had sentenced 11 convicts to life imprisonment. The Bombay High Court had upheld the punishment of the accused. The accused were first kept in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail and then in Nashik Jail. After about 9 years, everyone was sent to Godhra subjail.
Priyanka Gandhi said- The curtain on BJP’s anti-women policies has been removed.
Ultimately justice has prevailed. The Supreme Court has canceled the release of the accused Bilkis Bano, the victim of gangrape during the Gujarat riots. With this order, the veil over BJP’s anti-women policies has been removed. After this order, public confidence in the justice system will be further strengthened. Congratulations to Bilkis Bano for continuing her fight bravely.
Rahul Gandhi said- Supreme Court’s decision shows who is the protector of criminals
The tendency to ‘kill justice’ for electoral gains is dangerous for the democratic system. Today the Supreme Court’s decision once again told the country who is the ‘patron of criminals’. Bilkis Bano’s tireless struggle is a symbol of the victory of justice against the arrogant BJP government.
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For about 96 hours, 5 months pregnant Bilkis Bano, 9 months pregnant Shamim, 7 year old Saddam and her mother Amina kept stopping and running in the fields and forests. On March 3, 2002, this mob finally surrounded him in the Pathalpani forest. 6 women including Bilkis were gang raped. Read the story of those 96 hours…
A mob surrounded us with swords and sickles: Six women were gang-raped at that place, Bilkis and my mother were also among them.
There are only two living characters in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case, one is Bilkis herself and the other is Saddam, a child who was only 7 years old at the time of the incident. Saddam is the person who, apart from Bilkis, was the only eyewitness to the entire incident in the Bilkis Bano case. You must have read or heard the story of Bilkis. Read the story of Saddam…
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