Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > impact on women / resistance > India: Rectify this horrendously wrong decision: Ex-bureaucrats to SC on (...)

India: Rectify this horrendously wrong decision: Ex-bureaucrats to SC on remission to convicts in Bilkis Bano case

Bilkis Bano: Hundreds Gather at Jantar Mantar Against Remission of Sentence to 11 Convicts

Tuesday 30 August 2022, by siawi3


Communalism Rule of Law

Rectify this horrendously wrong decision: Ex-bureaucrats to SC on remission to convicts in Bilkis Bano case

134 former civil servants under the aegis of Constitutional Conduct Group urge Supreme Court to revoke remission of sentence granted to convicts


29 Aug 2022

Bilkis bano case Image courtesy: Shahbaz Khan/PTI

Support for Bilkis Bano and calls for justice for her are growing every day. Now, 134 former bureaucrats have written to the Supreme Court about the recent remission of sentence granted to eleven men convicted for gangraping Bilkis Bano and murdering 14 members of ther family including her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, asking it to “rectify this horrendously wrong decision”.

“We write to you because we are deeply distressed by this decision of the government of Gujarat and because we believe that it is only the Supreme Court which has the prime jurisdiction, and hence the responsibility, to rectify this horrendously wrong decision,” says the letter signed by former civil servants and activists such as Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander, former Mumbai police chief Julio Ribeiro, former Home Secretary GK Pillai, former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, and former foreign secretaries Shivshankar Menon and Sujatha Singh, among others. The letter has been put together under the aegis of the Constitutional Conduct Group.

The letter further says, “So influential were the persons accused of this ghastly crime and so politically fraught was the issue that not only has the case to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) instead of the Gujarat police, but it also had to be transferred from Gujarat to a special CBI court in Mumbai, to ensure a fair trial, because of the death threats received by Bilkis Bano.” It adds, “It is also shocking that five out of the 10 members of the Advisory Committee, which sanctioned the early release, belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party, while the remaining are ex-officio members. This raises the important question of impartiality and independence of the decision, and vitiates both the process and the outcome.”

The civil servants urge the Supreme Court, “In view of these glaring deviations from established law, departure from government policy and propriety, and the chilling impact that this release will have, not just on Bilkis Bano and her family and supporters, but also on the safety of all women in India, especially those who belong to minority and vulnerable communities, we urge you to rescind the order of remission passed by the Gujarat government and send the 11 persons convicted of gangrape and murder back to jail to serve out their life sentence.”

Readers would recall that on August 25, the Supreme Court issued notice in the petition moved by CPI (M) Member of Parliament Subhashini Ali, journalist Revathi Laul and Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, challenging the grant of remission of sentences. The State was granted two weeks to respond to the petition.


Bilkis Bano case: SC issues notice in petition challenging remission of convicts’ sentences

Bilkis Bano case: Remission of convicts’ sentences challenged before SC

Bilkis Bano case: NHRC to discuss release of convicts?

A very bad precedent has been set: Judge who convicted 11 men in Bilkis Bano case

Over 6,000 Citizens Urge SC to Revoke Remission of Convicts in Bilkis Bano Case

Bereft of words, still numb: Bilkis Bano

Bilkis Bano case: Eleven people convicted of gang rape and murder freed



Rule of Law

Bilkis Bano: Hundreds Gather at Jantar Mantar Against Remission of Sentence to 11 Convicts

Protests were held across cities by rights groups, academicians and students.
Malvika Kanwar 29 Aug 2022

Bilkis bano case: The protests were called by 22 organisations, including AIDWA, AIPWA, YWCA, AISA, NAPM, AIUWFP among others. Image Courtesy: Facebook


New Delhi: Several rights groups on Saturday organised protests across the country against the remission of life sentences given to 11 convicts by the Gujarat government in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape case.

The protests took place at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Bengaluru’s Freedom Park, and Mumbai, all of them condemning the Gujarat government’s decision and demanded that the convicts’ life sentences be reinstated. The protests were called by 22 organisations, including AIDWA, AIPWA, YWCA, AISA, NAPM, AIUWFP among others.

“The” 11 men sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano case had walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on Monday, August 15, after the Gujarat government approved their release under its remission policy. The convicts were later garlanded by groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

The men had gangraped Bano in a village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002, during the riots in Gujarat. She was 19 and pregnant at the time. Fourteen members of her family were also killed in the violence, including her three-year-old daughter whose head was smashed on the ground by the perpetrators.

Citizens have been protesting since the day the convicts were released.

Maimoona Mollah, member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), who was present at the protest, told NewsClick: “I applaud Bilkis for her courage but this decision is anti-women and at the same time this is an attempt to make Muslim women second class citizens.”

Many protesters present at Jantar Mantar shared Mollah’s sentiments.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Apeksha Priyadarshi told NewsClick that the circumstances under which this decision was taken was questionable. “Everyone is playing the blame game now. The BJP government is saying that the court released them and the Supreme Court is saying that we had only asked to form a committee. But no one thought of Bilkis and her family.”

She further raised questions about the security of Bilkis and her family now that the 11 convicts were set free by the court. “After this decision, there is fear among the Muslim population around the village of Bilkis and many families are afraid by the release of these heinous criminals,” she said.

Veteran Indian actress Shabana Azmi, who was also present at the Jantar Mantar protest, to extend her support and express solidarity with Bilkis and her family told mediapersons that: “We will only believe the Prime Minister’s tall claims regarding women’s safety when we see the results. Put these criminals in jail in a week, then their words can be believed.”

Azmi also termed a BJP leader’s attempt to save these criminals by portraying them as “cultured and Brahmins”as “disgusting”.

“This country had united and fought in the case of Nirbhaya. People’s struggle is the only way. We will unite and take to the roads for Bilkis till justice is served,” Azmi added.

Accusing the BJP of playing politics over religion, Kavita Krishnan, general secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), said: “Today, there is anger across the country due to this decision of the government. The BJP is using it to polarise its Hindu votes. BJP wants to get votes in 2022 on the basis of this incident that happened 20 years ago. But, we have to ask Prime Minister Modi why he is silent on the matter of Bilkis? We want to hear Bilkis name from Modi’s mouth. I dare him!”

In fact, AIDWA had called for protests across the country on Saturday. The women’s organisation informed that similar protests and resistance meetings have been and are taking place in all the states of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M) Politburo member and AIDWA’s National Vice President Subhashani Ali along with two others, has challenged the decision in the Supreme Court as well. Talking to NewsClick, Ali said: “It is not just a question of justice for women, but whether there will be rule of law in the country or not.”

She further said that people are angry with BJP because of this incident simply because it is against humanity. “This is a long battle that will be fought together,” Ali said.