Bilkis Bano Case: Social Activists to Hold 180-km March to Protest Release of 11 Convicts from Jail

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Team Clarion

AHMEDABAD — Under the banner of ‘Hindu Muslim Ekta Samiti’, a group of social activists plan to take out a ‘padyatra’ (foot march) from Randhikpur in Dahod district of Gujarat to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad from September 26 to protest the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case of gang rape and brutal murders, reports PTI.

The 11 convicts who were sentenced to life imprisonment were released from a jail in Godhra on August 15 after they were granted remission by the Gujarat government.

According to organising committee member Kalim Siddique, social activist Sandeep Pandey and MLA Jignesh Mevani along with 25 others, who belong to various rights organisations, will participate in the 180-kilometre long march between September 26 and October 4.

There was need to speak out “so that humanity survives, so that moral values and ethical standards are respected, so that innocent people feel safe and criminals are discouraged”, the group said, according to the report.

The release of the convicts is a matter of shame in a country that is identified the world over for its spirituality and the values and virtues of Mahatma Gandhi, the group said in a release.

“It is a shame that Gujarat, which produced a global stalwart like Mahatma Gandhi, is silent today on people who have committed heinous crimes,” it added.

It said the march was to tell Bilkis Bano that “we’re sorry” and to hope that such a fate does not befall anyone else.

Bilkis Bano was 21-years-old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that broke out after the Godhra train burning in 2002. Several of her kin were also brutally killed in the violence.

(With inputs from PTI)

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