Rahul targets PM over release of Bilkis Bano gangrape convicts: ‘what message..’

Published on Aug 17, 2022 12:39 PM IST

Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary, Home, earlier said the government considered the premature release of the 11 convicts under the state's old remission policy which was in effect when they were pronounced guilty in the case.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.(HT_PRINT)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.(HT_PRINT)

The Congress on Wednesday sharpened its attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the release of 11 people convicted for rape and murder in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Gujarat government for allowing the release of gangrape and murder convicts under its old remission policy. Gandhi said that the entire country is seeing the difference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “words and deeds" since the convicts were released hours after the BJP leader talked about ‘Naari Shakti’, or women power, during his Independence Day speech. (Also Read | Bilkis Bano case convicts greeted with sweets; Owaisi questions PM Modi)

He asked what message is being sent out to the women of the country by those who talk about ‘Naari Shakti’.

“Those who raped a five-month pregnant woman and killed her three-year-old daughter were released during 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'. What message is being given to the women of the country by those who peddle lies about 'Naari Shakti'?,” the former Congress chief said in a tweet.

"Mr. Prime Minister, the whole country is seeing the difference between what you say and what you do.

A row erupted on Tuesday after the 11 men convicted for raping Bilkis Bano, a Muslim woman, during the 2002 Godhra riots, killing her three-year-old daughter and 13 others. In January 2008, a special CBI court sentenced all 11 accused to life imprisonment on charges of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family. The Bombay high court later upheld their conviction.

While the revised policy of Gujarat government and the latest guidelines issued by Centre on early release of prisoners has kept those convicted for murder with rape or gang-rape out of the scope, the 1992 policy, under which the convicts had sought remission, did not have the annexure excluding certain categories. Raj Kumar, Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary, Home, earlier said the government considered the early release of the convicts under the state's old remission policy which was in effect when they were pronounced guilty in the case.

“Mr Modi, the world is watching you and what you will do,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera wrote on Twitter.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh called the decision “brazenly shameless”.

“Do you really think the Gujarat Govt did the early release without knowledge & approval of PM and HM?” he tweeted.

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