Bilkis Bano challenges the release of her rapists in the Supreme Courttext_fields
New Delhi: Bilkis Bano has approached the Supreme Court to challenge the release of 11 men convicted of gang-raping her and killing her family in the 2002 Gujarat riots. She was 21 years old at the time and among her family members was her three-year-old daughter.
Her petition said the decision of releasing the men should be taken by Maharashtra because the trial took place there, not in Gujarat. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said he will look into the listing of the plea.
A BJP leader, Chandrasinh Raulji, who was involved in the decision to release the rapists called them "sanskari Brahmins". He is a six-time MLA from the Godhra constituency. He is also BJP's candidate in the ongoing election.
The convicts were freed on August 15 by the Gujarat government using an outdated policy. Once released, the rapists were welcomed with garlands and celebrations by a Hindu organisation. The Gujarat government defended their release citing the Centre's approval and the good behaviour of the convicts.
The state government also ignored strong objections from the CBI and a special judge along with nationwide outrage. The presiding judge of the trial court and the CBI called their offence "grave and heinous." An affidavit by the Gujarat government also mentioned that one of the convicts was again booked for sexual harassment of a woman when he was out on parole in 2020. It also cited a Supreme Court ruling on one of the convict's petitions which said the government can consider releasing him under the 1992 remission policy.
The 2014 remission policy bars the release of rape and murder convicts.