A group of 401 citizens, including human rights activists, former civil servants and artistes, on Wednesday said that the release of all 11 men convicted of rape and murder in the Bilkis Bano case sets an inhumane and immoral precedent.
The 11 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.
On August 15, the convicts were released from a Godhra jail after the Gujarat government approved their application under its remission policy. On the same day, the convicts were greeted with sweets by their relatives after their release. A member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh felicitated them as well.
The signatories of the statement by the 401 citizens include retired Indian Administrative Services officer Jawhar Sircar, actor Nafisa Ali, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, photographer Raghu Rai and singer Shubha Mudgal. They have urged the government to revoke the remission.
“We believe that the remission and the government’s silence sends out a signal of impunity and sets a precedent that is inhuman and immoral,” the statement said.
The decision to free the convicts…