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Convict in Bilkis Bano Case Was Booked For Outraging Woman's Modesty in 2020 While On Parole

Sofi Ahsan
19 Oct 2022 4:44 AM GMT
Bilkis Bano Gang Rape Case, 11 Convicts, Sentenced, Life Imprisonment, Released, Govts Remission Policy,
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One of the convicts, who was released by the Gujarat government on remission in the Bilkis Bano case, stands chargesheeted for outraging the modesty of a woman on June 19 in 2020, according to the State's counter-affidavit before the Supreme Court.

The information was provided to the District Magistrate Dahod by the district superintendent of police when the government was considering the proposal to release the convicts including Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt on remission after 14 years of imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano case. The document disclosing the same is part of the annexures in the government's reply to a petition challenging the premature release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

Bhatt, 57, was booked under Section 354, 504, 506 (2) of the IPC in June 2020 by Randhikpur police and a chargesheet has been filed in the case, according to the official documents. Till May 25, Bhatt had "enjoyed 954 parole, furlough leaves" in the Bilkis Bano case. Even after registration of the FIR in 2020, he was out of prison for 281 days.

"On the records of all the police stations of Dahod district being summoned, neither any representation nor any memorandum nor any FIR has been found filed against the said prisoner ... during his parole-furlough leave that may lead to communal conflict between Hindu-Muslim," the SP Balram Meena had told the DM in the communication recommending his premature release.

As reported earlier, the Gujarat government in the reply has told the Supreme Court that it decided to release the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case on completion of their 14 years sentence as their "behaviour was found to be good" and after approval from the central government.

The government has also said that the decision was taken as per the policy dated 09.07.1992 "as directed by" the apex court and not "under the circular governing grant of remission to prisoners as part of celebration of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'. The government considered the opinions of seven authorities to grant the remission, it has told the apex court.

The submissions have been made in response to the petition filed by Subhashini Ali, a member of the Communist Party of India(Marxist), journalist Revati Laul and Professor Roop Rekha Verma against the pre-mature release of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

On August 15, 2022, all the convicts were released from a jail in Godhra, after being granted remission by the Gujarat Government. In May 2022, the Supreme Court had held that Gujarat Government was the appropriate government to consider the remission in the case and directed that the remission applications be decided within two months. The premature release of these convicts sparked a widespread outrage.

The crime, which happened during the 2002 Gujarat riots, relates to the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 of her family members, including her three year old daughter in a communal attack. Bilkis was the only survivor of the crime. The investigation was handed over to the CBI and the trial was shifted from Gujarat to Maharashtra by the Supreme Court. In 2008, a sessions court in Mumbai convicted 11 persons for gangrape and murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The conviction was upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.


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