“Bilkis Bano, or any woman, needs support, beyond politics and ideologies. Period,” Khusbhu tweeted.

Khushbu Sundar
news Controversy Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 17:02

At least two leaders from the BJP have condemned the release and felicitation of the convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case of Gujarat, who were released after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their premature release under its remission policy. BJP leader in Tamil Nadu Khushbu Sundar on Wednesday, August 24, took to Twitter to say that the release of the convicts “is an insult to humankind.”

“A woman who is raped, assaulted, brutalised and her soul scarred for life must get justice. No man who has been involved in it should go free. If he does so, it's an insult to humankind and womanhood. #BilkisBano or any woman, needs support, beyond politics n ideologies. Period (sic),” Khusbhu tweeted. 

On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the case of Bilkis Bano's gang rape and murder of her seven family members during the 2002 communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail. They were welcomed with garlands following their release from jail. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose MLAs were on the Gujarat government- appointed remission committee, faced flak over the release of the convicts and welcome accorded to them.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, while speaking in the Assembly, said that the convicts were released following a Supreme Court order, but it was wrong if a person accused of a crime is "felicitated" and there can be no justification for such an act. He was replying to a discussion in the Legislative Council on an incident in Bhandara district, where a 35-year-old woman was sexually assaulted allegedly by three people. 

“The accused have been freed after completing nearly 20 years...14 years in jail. The release has been done after a Supreme Court order. But it is wrong if any accused is felicitated and welcomed. An accused is an accused and there can be no justification for this (act),” said Fadnavis, who is also the state’s Home Minister. 

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the eleven accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of the family of Bilkis Bano, a riot survivor. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.

These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release. The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy on the basis of the date of his conviction.

Thereafter, the government formed a committee and issued an order allowing premature release of all the convicts from jail.

With PTI inputs

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