Bilkis Bano case: All 11 life imprisonment convicts released under Gujarat government's remission policy

A CBI court in 2008 sentenced the eleven accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family
Last Updated : 19 August 2022, 06:09 IST

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The Gujarat government on Monday released all 11 convicts who were serving life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case from Godhra jail giving them the benefit of the remission policy.

This was one of the most widely publicised cases of the 2002 post-Godhra riots, which was investigated by the CBI and the trial was conducted in Mumbai due to threats to witnesses.

The decision of remission came nearly four months after Supreme Court's direction to the state government to look into convicts' demand of remission since they had served over 15 years in jail. The direction had come following a petition moved by one of the convicts, Radheshyam B Shah. He argued in the apex court that he had already served over 15 years in jail.

When contacted, Panchmahals collector Sujal Mayatra confirmed to DH that the convicts were released on Monday after following the procedure. He said that based on the apex court's direction and the state government had formed a panel which he chaired and sent recommendations.

He said that the remission order was passed after going through the records of convicts, including their years of imprisonment, and behaviour, among other factors.

Bilkis Bano couldn't be reached immediately for her reaction. Her husband Yakub, told DH, "We are shocked. We have no idea about this order. We don't know what kind of justice system is this." He also added that he came to know about this only through the media.

On March 3, 2002, days after the burning of the Sabarmati Express, train at Godhra station Bilkis Bano, then 19 years old and five months pregnant, was escaping rioters along with her family, on board a truck. Which was attacked by an armed mob at Randhikpur village, Dahod district. Fourteen members of her family were killed, including her daughter, mother Halima and cousin Shamim. Bilkis was gang-raped.

On January 21, 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai sentenced the eleven convicts to life in prison on the charges of gang rape and the murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano. The Bombay High Court 2017 confirmed the conviction.

Published 15 August 2022, 14:41 IST

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