Three Gujarat Congress MLAs have written to President Droupadi Murmu seeking her direction to the state government to withdraw its "shameful decision" to release the 11 convicts serving a life sentence in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case.
The three MLAs- Gyasuddin Shaikh, Imran Khedawala and Javed Pirzada- have written a letter to the President, Shaikh said on Saturday.
"Gujarat Congress MLAs @Gyasuddin_INC, @Imran_khedawala and Javed Pirzada wrote a letter to the President of India Draupadi Murmu regarding Bilkis Bano case," stated a post on Shaikh's Twitter handle with a copy of the letter.
The letter stated the "shameful decision" of the Gujarat BJP government ordering the release of the 11 convicts in the case of gang rape of Bilkis Bano and murder of seven members of her family has "tarnished the day (on which such a decision was taken)."
"Even though the Central Government has a clear guideline that rape convicts serving life imprisonment should not be released under the policy of pardon, the BJP government of Gujarat has shown its insensitivity by pardoning the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case. This is a disappointing decision for those struggling to get justice," said the letter.
It said the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case should be given the harshest punishment for the crime of gang rape and the murder of seven members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, during the 2002 Gujarat communal riots.
"On the contrary, the BJP government of Gujarat has pardoned the perpetrators of such heinous crimes," it said.
On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano's gang rape and murder of her seven family members during the communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their release under its remission policy, drawing a sever flak from Opposition parties.
They were released after the Supreme Court directed the government to consider the plea of the convicts for relief under the state's 1992 remission policy.
A special CBI court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment all the 11 accused in the case for the murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano, a riots survivor, and her gang rape. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.
These convicts had served more than 15 years in prison after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.
The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy based on the date of his conviction. Thereafter, the government formed a committee which decided to allow the release of all the convicts.
On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano's family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of the Dahod district. Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped and seven members of her family were killed during the riots triggered by the Godhra train burning incident.
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