How can justice for any woman end like this: Bilkis Bano
Appealing to Gujarat government to rollback its decision to free 11 convicts, she demanded, “Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe”
Bilkis Bano, whose gangrape convicts were released by the Gujarat government on August 15, has said that no one inquired about her safety and well-being before taking “such a big and unjust decision.”
Appealing to the state government to “undo this harm”, in a statement released through her advocate Shobha, she demanded, “Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe.”
As many as 11 men convicted of gang-raping her and murdering her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots have walked free despite a stringent remission policy for prisoners for August 15, 2022, January 26, 2023 and August 15, 2023, announced by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on June 10, 2022.
The 11 convicts were sentenced for life by a special CBI court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008 for gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family.
Paragraph 5(vi) on page 4 of the remission policy states that prisoners convicted of rape shall not be considered for special remission.
Furthermore, 5(ii) also states that prisoners convicted with sentence of life imprisonment also shall not be considered.
In the statement, Bilkis Bano said, “On August 15, 2022, the trauma of the past 20 years washed over me again, when I heard that the 11 convicted men who devastated my family and my life and took from me my three-year-old daughter, had walked free.”
Forwarded to Counterview by Gagan Sethi, director of the legal rights NGO Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) which fought her case, Bilkis Bano’s statement said, she is “bereft of words”, and is “numb”, underlining, “Today, I can say only this – how can justice for any woman end like this?”
She continued, “I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice. My sorrow and my wavering faith is not for myself alone but for every woman who is struggling for justice in courts.”
She ended the statement by saying, “No one enquired about my safety and well-being, before taking such a big and unjust decision. I appeal to the Gujarat government, please undo this harm. Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe.”
(In arrangement with Counterview.net)