Now, BJP MLA says Bilkis Bano's rapists ‘are Brahmins with good sanskaar’

Updated on Aug 18, 2022 11:02 PM IST

The BJP MLA, CK Raulji, was one of the two BJP leaders who were part of the review panel that granted remission to the 11 convicted rapists.

Gujarat BJP MLA CK Raulji. 
Gujarat BJP MLA CK Raulji. 
By | Written by Sohini Goswami

A legislator from the ruling camp in Gujarat has said the 11 rapists in the Bilkis Bano case are Brahmins with good values or ‘sanskaar’ and someone with ill intention may have punished them. The BJP MLA, CK Raulji, was one of the two BJP leaders who were part of the review panel that granted remission to the 11 convicted rapists.

The release of the men, who were charged with rape and murder during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, have triggered a massive uproar across the nation.

Raolji made the remarks during an interview with news platform Mojo Story. "I don't know whether they committed any crime or not. But there has to be some intention of committing the crime," Raulji is heard telling a reporter from the news outlet in Hindi.

Also read | Bilkis Bano after release of convicts: ‘Give back my right to live without…'

"They are good people – Brahmins. And Brahmins are known to have good ‘sanskaar’. It might have been someone's ill intention to corner and punish them," the MLA said, adding the convicts had a good conduct during their time in jail.

The clip that is now doing the rounds on social media was shared by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Y Satish Reddy. “BJP now terms rapists as ‘Men of Good Sanskar’. This is the lowest a party can ever stoop!” he wrote along with the clip.

The 11 convicts, sentenced to life imprisonment, walked out of the Godhra jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy, after having completed more than 15 years in jail. Their release came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about women empowerment during his Independence Day address from the Red Fort.

The men were accorded a warm welcome, garlanded and fed sweets after walking out free from the jail. A day ago, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) reportedly greeted the convicts with garlands at its office in Gujarat.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, had sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment on charges of gangrape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay high court.

Also read | Rahul Gandhi asks PM Modi on BJP 'support' to rape accused: 'Are you not ashamed'

Bilkis Bano was 21-year-old and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the communal violence that broke out after the Godhra train burning carnage. Among those killed were her three-year-old daughter.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader P Chidambaram said two BJP MLAs were part of the review panel that granted the convicts remission. "There is an interesting side story to the grant of remission to 11 persons convicted for gang rape in Gujarat. Among the Review Panel were two BJP MLAs Shri C. K. Raolji and Smt Suman Chauhan!

Also read | Over 6,000 citizens urge SC to revoke remission of convicts

"Another member was Shri Murli Mulchandani who was a key witness for the prosecution in the Godhra Train burning case!" the Rajya Sabha MP wrote on Twitter.

He asked whether this was a neutral, non-partisan panel of experts in criminology and penology and said the district collector was the chairperson.

(With inputs from agencies)

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