He said the state government declined to provide them with the remission information when they had sought it
NEW DELHI – As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government continues to face backlash for releasing 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case, her husband and a witness has revealed that they came to know about the details related to the release of the rape and murder convicts only when the Gujarat government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court.
He said the state government declined to provide them with the remission information when they had sought it.
“When the SC asked, they (state government) said they had taken approval of the Central government. When we had asked for details, we did not get a single paper,” her husband Yaqub Patel was quoted by The Times of India as saying.
Ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections, the state government, on 15 August, released all eleven convicts, who gang-raped Bilkis when she was pregnant, killed her three-year-old daughter in front of her and other family members during 2002 Gujarat riots, citing their “good behavior”. The government has been slammed by all sections for showing sympathy towards people who had committed such heinous crimes. Opposition leaders pulled up the Narendra Modi Government for giving its assent to the release of those who are guilty of crime against humanity.
Before releasing them, the government did not even seek the opinion of the survivor Bilkis, who is in a shock ever since she heard about their release. What is all the more intriguing is that they are not providing the details to the victim even after the release of her tormentors.
Patel and witness Razzak Mansuri said that they had sought the details related to the remission from the different officials soon after the convicts were released.
Manusri said he had submitted an RTI (Right to Information) application with the Panchmahal district collectorate seeking the information. Over two months have passed by, he is still waiting for a reply from the administration.
According to Mansuri, in August, Bilkis had also submitted RTI queries to the various officials including the home departments. But they had not pasted the Rs 20 stamp on the RTI application sent to the Home Department.
“We received a letter stating that Rs 20 should be paid. Bilkis sent a money order of Rs 20, but it was returned,” Mansuri said.
In response, the Home Department said that the money should be sent by cash/demand draft/pay order of a bank/India Pay’s order or non-judicial stamp on the application. However, other officials have not responded to her applications.