Congress slams Centre, Gujarat govt over remission to convicts in Bilkis Bano case

The Congress on Wednesday attacked the central and Gujarat governments over the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case last year

Representative image
Representative image


The Congress on Wednesday attacked the central and Gujarat governments over the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case last year, saying the truth about the basis on which such criminals were released needs to come out.

The Opposition party's assertion came a day after the Supreme Court questioned the Gujarat government over the remission granted to these convicts in the case of gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots. The court said the gravity of the offence should have been considered and asked whether there was any application of mind.

The Centre and the Gujarat government also told the court they may file a plea seeking a review of its March 27 order asking them to be ready with original files on the grant of remission.

Asked about the hearing in the Supreme Court and the top court's observation, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, "It was not an ordinary crime or just gangrape, her child was killed... Can you imagine what she would have gone through and the the Gujarat government and the central government say these files are privilege." "What privilege is there, is it a national security issue? This is a matter of a woman's right. You will have to put forward the truth on what basis you released such hardened criminals and on what basis your people called them 'sanskari'," she said, slamming the government.

Asking for reasons for the premature release of the convicts, a bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna had also questioned the paroles granted to them during their incarceration period.

The Supreme Court bench, hearing the matter on Tuesday had said, "Today it is this lady (Bilkis) but tomorrow it can be anyone. It may be you or me. If you do not show your reasons for grant of remission, then we will draw our own conclusions." In her remarks at the presser, Shrinate said, "The question asked by the Supreme Court is the correct one. Every woman of the country asks this today that Modi ji and his people save such persons. Where is Smriti Irani and others, they are sitting with tape on their mouth." The question asked by the Supreme Court shakes the conscience of this country that it was Bilkis Bano yesterday and today it can be someone else, the Congress leader said.

"What is the government trying to hide. There is absolutely nothing about national security here, the truth about how the convicts of Bilkis Bano were released needs to come out because that is he truth every woman in the country including myself wants to know. What was the ground on which they were released?" Shrinate said.

On March 27, terming Bilkis Bano's gangrape and the murder of her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots as a "horrendous" act, the top court had asked the Gujarat government whether uniform standards, as followed in other cases of murder, were applied while granting remission to the 11 convicts in the case.

It had sought a response from the Centre, the Gujarat government and others on the plea filed by Bano, who has challenged the remission of the sentences.

All the 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15 last year.

The top court is seized of PILs filed by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul, former Lucknow University VC Roop Rekha Verma, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra against the release of the convicts.

Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing from the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed. 

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