“Freed Bilkis Bano Convicts As…”: Gujarat Government To Supreme Court

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The 11 men convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots were released as they had been in jail for 14 years and their behaviour was found to be good, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court today. The court is hearing three petitions challenging the release of the men, who walked free on Independence Day.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Gujarat government said the Union Home Ministry had approved the premature release through a letter dated 11.07.2022.

The convicts were released under an outdated remission policy, setting off a huge political controversy. Bilkis Bano has said she was not consulted or informed about the decision.

CPM Politburo member Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, and one other person had challenged the release in court.

The convicts were sentenced to life term in jail by a special court in Mumbai for the gangrape and the murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family.

The sentence was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.

What made the state government’s decision more controversial was that the recommendation was based on the Gujarat government’s 1992 remission policy. Unlike the later policies in both the state and at the Centre, it did not have restrictions on the premature release of those convicted for rape or sentenced to life imprisonment.

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