Bilkis Bano’s Husband Fears For The Future After Release of Wife’s Rapists
The decision by India’s Supreme Court to release the 11 Hindu extremists from life imprisonment for gang-raping Bilkis Bano, and brutally murdering seven members of her family was a shocking blow to Bano and her family.
Under the orders of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai, the accused men had been in prison since January 2008 on charges of rape of a pregnant woman, murder, criminal conspiracy, and unlawful assembly under the Indian Penal Code.
Back in 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat government to compensate Bano with 50 lakh rupees, a job, and a house. Bano welcomed the order saying that it has “reaffirmed her faith in the judiciary.”
Her husband, Yakub Rasul expressed that the judgment had caused great grief and worry, especially as they were completely blindsided.
He also expressed his fears saying, “We are now scared of what will happen. We are not sure as to what we will do now because we feel that there is no hope. There is nothing left for us to do now.”
Bano’s case was one of the most high-profile cases of the Gujarat riots. India’s Supreme Court transferred the case out of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to Mumbai after threats to Bano’s life.
The release, which came on India’s Independence Day, took place under the Gujarat government’s remission policy, after one of the accused approached the Supreme Court pleading for a premature release.
His plea resulted in the Gujarat government creating a committee to look into the issue of remission as directed by the apex court. The committee voted unanimously in favor of releasing all 11 convicts.
The release of the convicts also meant that the Gujarat government blatantly disregarded the Union Government’s rulings that rape convicts are not to be granted release.
Activist Teesta Setalvad Files For Bail Hearing From Supreme Court
Activist Teesta Setalvad has moved to the Supreme Court seeking bail. She was arrested for allegedly fabricating documents to frame former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other high-ranking officials in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
Back in July, a sessions court in Ahmedabad declined to grant her bail along with former Director General of Police, R.B. Sreekumar. The court denied their bail stating that granting them bail would encourage wrongdoers. The bail hearing is listed for August 22.
Setalvad, who was arrested on June 25, appealed to the apex court and objected to the 1.5 months gap in the hearing of her bail application.
The denial of bail and long waiting periods are just one of the many recent examples of the Indian judiciary’s failure to uphold justice in regards to the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. Prior to Setalvad’s arrest, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during riots.
The judiciary’s lack of action continues to give India’s PM Narendra Modi, and other officials who committed atrocities in Gujarat a clean record.
Hindu Extremists Celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s Killer on Independence Day
On August 15, Indians celebrated “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,” an initiative by the Government of India to honour and celebrate 75 years of Independence.
On the other hand, hundreds of Hindu extremists in Uttar Pradesh celebrated Independence Day by taking to the streets, waving India’s flag, and hoisting a picture of Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi successfully used nonviolent resistance to help India gain independence from British rule. His teachings would go on to inspire freedom fighters all across the world, including Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Godse was a member of the right-wing Hindu extremist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP, the ruling party in India, and is identified by some as the first terrorist of independent India.
Current RSS leader Indresh Kumar said that Gandhi’s mistake led to the partition of the country. He also claimed that India only became partly free 75 years ago.