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Bilkis Bano appeals to Gujarat government to ‘undo the harm’ of releasing convicts

Bilkis Bano during a press conference in New Delhi in 2019.

Bilkis Bano during a press conference in New Delhi in 2019. | Photo Credit: PTI

In her first reaction after 11 convicts of her case serving life imprisonment were released prematurely under the remission policy, Bilkis Bano late on Wednesday said that the decision of their release shook her faith in judiciary and took away peace from her. 

“The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice. My sorrow and my wavering faith is not for myself alone but for every woman who is struggling for justice in courts,” she said in her first reaction in a statement that was released by her lawyer Shobha Gupta. 

On August 15, the Gujarat government released 11 convicts serving their sentence in a jail in Godhra after the State administration accepted the recommendation of a local committee that granted remission to them. 

In her statement, she demanded her right to “live in peace and without fear” while questioning how justice for any woman can end like this. “No one enquired about my safety and well-being, before taking such a big and unjust decision.” 

She said that the decision of the State government had left her numb and bereft of any words. 

Also read | Gujarat followed old policy to release convicts in Bilkis Bano case 

“When I heard that the 11 convicted men who devastated my family and my life, and took from me my 3 year old daughter, had walked free... I was bereft of words. I am still numb,” she said, adding “… the trauma of the past 20 years washed over me again.”

“I appeal to the Gujarat Government, please undo this harm. Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe,” she said ending her brief statement. 

Editorial | Remission without reform: On the release of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case

Earlier, her husband Yakub while talking to mediapersons had said that the family was unaware till they learnt from the media about the release of the convicts, who were publicly felicitated with garlands and sweets as they emerged from the Godhra sub-jail. 

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2022 10:35:45 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bilkis-bano-appeals-to-gujarat-government-to-undo-the-harm-of-releasing-convicts/article65780766.ece