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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightBilkis Bano rape case:...

Bilkis Bano rape case: Court document shows Centre approved rapists' release in 2 weeks

Bilkis Bano rape case: Court document shows Centre approved rapists release in 2 weeks

New Delhi: A court document shows that the home ministry approved the premature release of 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case in just two weeks.

It also showed that the CBI had opposed the early release of the convicts.

The Gujarat government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the men were released as they had been in jail for 14 years and their behavior was found to be good, and the Centre had also conveyed its approval.

The documents also show the men enjoyed thousands of days of parole even before their premature release. Bilkis Bano had also reported harassment when the men were out on parole, which raises serious questions on the "good behaviour" claim. Even while releasing them, Gujarat cops didn't clarify on security to Bilkis Bano.

The convicts walked free on Independence Day under an outdated remission policy of the state government, setting off a huge political controversy. While such releases need the approval of the Union Home Ministry, the state had not clarified the clearance, leaving it a grey area.

The Gujarat government on Monday filed an affidavit in the top court, saying the Union Home Ministry had approved the premature release through a letter dated 11.07.2022.

The Supreme Court is hearing three petitions from CPM Politburo member Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, and one other person challenging the release of the men.

One of the petitioners contended that the case was investigated by the CBI, and so, the grant of remission solely by the Gujarat government without any consultation with the Central government is "impermissible" in terms of the mandate of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The court had asked the Gujarat government to file the entire record of the proceedings in the Bilkis Bano case, including the remission order given to the convicts.

Seven members of Bilkis Bano's family were murdered before her eyes -- among them her three-year-old daughter, whose head was bashed with a rock. Seven other relatives, who she says was also killed, were declared "missing".

The woman, 21 years old and five months' pregnant at the time, was then gang-raped. The family was attacked as they hid in the fields in Gujarat's Dahod, as violence swept the state following the attack on Sabarmati Express, in which 59 'kar sevaks' died.

The level of their atrocity had brought Bilkis Bano the highest-ever compensation in a rape case -- a job, a house, and ₹ 50 lakh -- awarded by the Supreme Court in 2019.

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