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Bilkis Bano grateful for quashing Gujarat govt's release of convicts

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Bilkis Bano grateful for quashing Gujarat govts release of convicts
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New Delhi: Bilkis Bano said that she could now "breathe again" after the Supreme Court's order on Monday, January 8, quashing the remission by the Gujarat government granted to the 11convicts of the rape and murder convicts. The 2002 riot survivor thanked the Supreme Court for the decision in a statement sent through her lawyer Shobha Gupta. "Today is truly the New Year for me," she added.

“I have wept tears of relief. I have smiled for the first time in over a year and a half. I have hugged my children. It feels like a stone the size of a mountain has been lifted from my chest, and I can breathe again. This is what justice feels like. I thank the honourable Supreme Court of India for giving me, my children and women everywhere this vindication and hope in the promise of equal justice for all,” she said, the News Minute reported.

She expressed her gratitude to her friends, family, and lawyer for their support and unwavering presence during the last 20 years. “I have said before, and I say again today, journeys like mine can never be made alone. I have had my husband and my children by my side. I have had my friends who have given me so much love at a time of such hate, and held my hand at each difficult turn. I have had an extraordinary lawyer, Advocate Shobha Gupta, who has walked with me unwaveringly for over 20 long years, and who never allowed me to lose hope in the idea of justice,” she said.

She said that she was emotionally spent as a result of the perpetrators' early release. She did, however, regain her bravery as a result of the outpouring of support that followed, which included thousands of individuals writing open letters, PIL petitions, and appeals on her behalf. PIL petitions were submitted, and 65,500 expressions of support were sent in the form of appeals and open letters from people all around the nation.

“Even as I absorb the full meaning of this verdict for my own life, and for my children’s lives, the dua (prayer) that emerges from my heart today is simple — the rule of law, above all else, and equality before law, for all,” she said.

The remission of sentence and release of the 11 convicts connected to the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots were invalidated by the Supreme Court on January 8. All the 11 rape convicts have been directed to surrender back to prison within two weeks. Widespread outrage was sparked by the Gujarat government's decision to release the guilty on August 15, 2022, in accordance with the state's remission policy.

The top court said that the state of Gujarat lacked the jurisdiction to issue the remission orders, as the trial and verdict of the case, as also the incarceration of the convicts happened in Maharashtra of the case . PILs were filed challenging the remission orders by a number of people and groups, such as Asma Shafique Shaikh, the National Federation of Indian Women, Mahua Moitra, the leader of the Trinamool Congress, and CPI(M) politician Subhashini Ali. But more material for the Supreme Court was the petition filed by the victim of the crime Bilkis Bano.

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TAGS:Supreme CourtGujarat GovernmentBilkis Bano caseIndia NewsRemission of sentence
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