Bilkis Bano Challenges In Supreme Court Release Of Her Rapists

Bilkis Bano was 21 when she was gang-raped by the 11 men in 2002 (FIle)

New Delhi:

Bilkis Bano has approached the Supreme Court challenging the release of 11 men convicted of gang-raping her and killing her family in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The convicts were freed on August 15, Independence Day, by the Gujarat government under a past remission policy. The move sparked massive nationwide outrage, especially when images showed the rapists being garlanded and welcomed like heroes by a Hindu organisation.

The Supreme Court had said, on the petition of one of the convicts, that the Gujarat government could consider releasing him under the 1992 remission policy.

Based on that ruling, the Gujarat government had released all 11 men. The Centre had also fast-tracked the release, clearing Gujarat’s move within two weeks.

It would not have been possible if the Gujarat government had gone by the 2014 remission policy, which bars the release of rape and murder convicts.

Bilkis Bano has said in her petition that Maharashtra, not Gujarat, should decide on releasing the men.

Bilkis Bano was 21 when she was gang-raped by the men, who killed nine members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, during the 2002 riots that swept through Gujarat after the Godhra train burning in which 59 pilgrims died.

Her petition comes a day before Gujarat votes in the first of two rounds.

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