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The Gujarat government’s order to release the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case has been challenged in the Supreme Court. In this petition, the reconsideration of the sentence of all the convicts has been requested. On the other hand, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Aparna Bhat regarding the petition challenging the release of the convicts in the case. Subsequently, the court agreed to study the petition list. Let’s say that after the Godhra incident, riots broke out in Gujarat and during that riot seven members of Bilkis Bana’s family were killed. Not only that, the rioters had also gang-raped Bilkis Bano.
On January 21, 2008, all those convicted were sentenced to life imprisonment but have now been released.
On 21 January 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment in the gang-rape and murder case. The Bombay High Court later upheld his sentence. These convicts served in jail for more than 15 years, after which one of them approached the Supreme Court for early release. The high court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of commutation of his sentence under the 1992 policy on the date of his conviction. After that, the government constituted a committee and issued an order for the early release of all the convicts.
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It is noteworthy that after the Godhra incident, riots broke out in Gujarat and during this riot, on 3 March 2002, a mob attacked the family of Bilkis Bano in Randhikpur village, Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang-raped and seven of her relatives were brutally murdered by the rioters.
This is the end of justice given to a woman: Bilkis Bano
Bilkis Bano said with emotion that when I heard that 11 criminals who destroyed my family and my life and took away my 3-year-old daughter, were free today, I was completely stunned. I’m still shocked. All I can say today is: how can justice for a woman end like this? I had faith in the highest courts of my country. I trusted the system and was slowly learning to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken away my peace and shaken my faith in justice. My pain and insecure faith is not just for me, but for all women fighting for justice in the courts.