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Convicts' Release In Bilkis Bano Case Abhorrent, Has Chilling Effect On Women Safety: NLSIU Alumni Statement

Deepankar Malviya
27 Sep 2022 3:58 PM GMT
Convicts Release In Bilkis Bano Case Abhorrent, Has Chilling Effect On Women Safety: NLSIU Alumni Statement
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In a joint statement expressing their shock and sadness at Gujarat government's decision to remit the sentences of convicts in the Bilkis Bano Case, a total of 157 alumni of India's premier law school, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), have called upon the Supreme Court "to do justice in the matter and send the convicts back to prison."The release of the convicts "is abhorrent...

In a joint statement expressing their shock and sadness at Gujarat government's decision to remit the sentences of convicts in the Bilkis Bano Case, a total of 157 alumni of India's premier law school, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), have called upon the Supreme Court "to do justice in the matter and send the convicts back to prison."

The release of the convicts "is abhorrent and prima facie in contravention of settled law on the matter," reads the statement.

The former students also said that the decision does not only have a chilling effect on Bilkis Bano and her family but also on the dignity and safety of all the women in the country.

"Through such a remission and the subsequent (in some quarters) celebrations of the release, the violence & suffering inflicted on Bilkis Bano has been renewed & compounded manifold," they said in the statement. 

The alumni also called upon the Gujarat government to make amends for its actions and appealed to the responsible citizens in business, civil society and academia to lend their voice of support to reassure Bilkis Bano that "we stand with her and her incalculable loss".

"The future of the rule of law & upkeep of our constitutional morality has been compromised and needs to be urgently set right," they said. 

Gujarat government last month decided to remit the sentences of 11 men who were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and mass murder case. They were released on August 15. 

The crime took place during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. Bilkis Bano, who was around 5 months pregnant then, was gangraped, and 14 of her family members, including her three-year-old daughter, were murdered.

The investigation was handed over to the CBI as per the directions of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also shifted the trial to Maharashtra. In 2008, a sessions court in Mumbai passed the sentence in the case.

As of now, there are two petitions challenging the remission of sentence by the State Government. The first one is by CPI (M) MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul & Prof Roop Rekha Verma through Advocate Aparna Bhat. The second petition was moved by TMC MP Mahua Moitra.



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