‘Impunity for Communal Rapists’: Massive Outrage Against Gujarat Govt for Setting Free Bilkis Bano Rape Convicts

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Silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the remission to the rape and murder convicts questioned

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Women activists and Muslim leaders have come down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Gujarat for setting free the gang-rape and murder convicts in the Bilkis Bano case describing the move as “the rule of impunity for communal killers and rapists”.

On Monday, all the eleven convicts serving life imprisonment in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape and brutal murder of seven members of her family was released by the state from the Godhra sub-jail under the government’s remission policy.

Bano was 21 years old and five-months pregnant when she was gang-raped in Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002 while fleeing the communal violence that broke out in the aftermath of the Sabarmati train incident in Godhra. Her three children were also killed during the anti-Muslim violence. 

“The conviction of communal killers and rapists is after all an aberration in India, not the rule. Does the remission intend to restore the rule of impunity for communal killers and rapists?,” said a prominent women activist Kavita Krishnan in a statement reacting to the remission.

Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), pointed out that today it has become commonplace for Hindu-supremacists to openly give calls for genocide and rape of Muslims – without any consequences. The decision to free Bilkis Bano’s rapists emboldens such men and their followers to act on their threats.

She also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the remission to the rape and murder convicts and insinuated that the decision was taken with the blessing of both leaders.

“Will PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah care to comment on this decision? Do we really believe that this decision was taken without the blessing of these two topmost leaders of the BJP? #IndiaAt75 became a day of shame for India’s women, because the ruling BJP chose to make it a day to free Bilkis’ rapists,” said Krishnan.

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) has also condemned Gujarat government’s remission to the rape and murder convicts calling it “unfortunate” and “violation of the constitution”.

Navaid Hamid, President of the AIMMM, said the decision reflects the government’s antipathy towards Muslims.

“This will promote the criminal mindset. This reflects not only government’s enmity against Muslims but also its insensitivity towards rape. It also violates the court’s judgment and the constitution,” said Hamid.

He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech on the occasion of Independence Day urged people to respect and expressed concern over violent behavior towards women while his party was giving azadi ka amrit mahatsov to the rape convicts by setting them free.  

Asaduddin Owaisi, President of All India Muslim Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMMIM), also slammed the BJP calling it “biased” against the religion and reminded the party Modi’s speech about respecting women.

“This is BJP’s version of AZADI KA AMRIT. People who are GUILTY of a heinous crime have been given freedom. BJP’s bias for a religion is such that even brutal rape & hate crimes are forgivable. Will BJP-Shinde Maha govt form a committee to consider Rubina Memon’s remission too,” he tweeted.

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