Unprecedented’ says Congress, on Bilkis Banu’s gang-rape convicts’ release

The Congress criticised the BJP administration as the 11 people sentenced to life imprisonment for gangraping Bilkis Bano and killing seven members of her family during the Gujarat riots in 2002 were allowed to leave jail on Tuesday.

Pointing out that only hours before the state issued its order of remission for the 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken of the potential of women in his Independence Day speech. At a news conference in Delhi, Congress leader Pawan Khera questioned the PM’s truthfulness.

Terming the Gujarat government order “unprecedented”, the Congress said: “You let off the convicts citing the 14 years spent by them of their sentence, that their conduct in jail was good, and the nature of the crime… If we just consider the nature of the crime, does rape not come in the category that the harshest punishment be given, that any sentence is not enough? And we saw today that those who were let off, they are being felicitated and honoured. Is this Amrit Mahotsav?”

Congress leader Pawan Khera observed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken of women’s strength in his Independence Day address just hours before the state’s remission decision for the 11, Congress leader Pawan Khera questioned at a news conference in Delhi whether the PM meant what he said.

Khera said: “Does the PM not mean what he says? Or is it that his own party, its governments have stopped listening to him?… Or does he say one thing to the country and another to his own party’s government?”

Khera cited the Supreme Court’s 2017 intervention to get Bilkis Bano’s Rs 50 lakh settlement as evidence that what had occurred with her was unlawful and that her family had endured torture. “How dare the PM then talk about women empowerment from the ramparts of the Red Fort?”

Source: NDTV

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