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Fearing safety, Muslim residents of Bilkis Bano's village leave after release of 11 convicts

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Fearing safety, Muslim residents of Bilkis Banos village leave after release of 11 convicts
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Muslims in the Randhikpur village in Gujarat's Dahod district where Bilkis Bano was gang raped and seven members of her family were killed during the 2002 riots, have fled their homes over the safety concern following the release of the 11 life-term convicts in the case.

The 11 convicts were released on August 15 under the Gujarat government's remission policy after serving 15 years in jail in the Bilkis Bano case.

Police have increased security in Randhikpur as the men released from the jail hail from a neighbouring village, but ruled out any exodus by villagers.

The migrated villagers have urged the Gujarat government to jail the convicts again and demanded police protection to return to their village.

As per a report by India Today, many families from Randhikpur village have left their homes and are now living in Devgadh Baria. Bilkis Bano and her family also live in Devgadh Baria.

One such villager is Sameer Ghachi who left Randhikpur village with his entire family of 12 members and migrated to his uncle's place in Devgadh Baria.

Sameer Ghachi, who sells vehicles, said, "First we did not have any knowledge of those 11 rapists and murderers being released from jail. After returning to the village, they celebrated with firecrackers and music. This is when we started to fear for our lives. We decided to leave our village and migrate here to Devgadh Baria. How can they burst crackers and play DJ for rapists and murderers?"

Sameer Ghachi further said, "We have written a letter to Dahod Collector as well that all 11 convicts be jailed again and justice be given to Bilkis Bano. If that does not happen, we will not be going back to our village."

Fifty-five people have signed the letter and submitted it to the Dahod Collector demanding 11 convicts be jailed again and justice be given to Bilkis Bano.

Another villager, Iqbal Abdul said, "Till the time the 11 rapists and murderers are not put in jail again and proper police protection is given to us, we will not go back to Randhikpur. Our life and business are getting affected but we are helpless."

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TAGS:Bilkis Bano Case
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