Bilkis Bano case: Supreme Court issues notice to Gujarat govt on release of convicts
New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court Thursday issued a notice to the Gujarat government seeking its response on the release of 11 convicts in the case related to the gangrape of Bilkis Bano during a communal clash in the state back in 2002, media reports said.
Petitions challenging the release order were filed by three including CPI-M member Subhashini Ali and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra.
The release of the convicts has triggered a political firestorm with the Opposition slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules Gujarat, and its supreme leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had stressed on women's issues in his customary Independence Day speech.
A group linked to the BJP was also seen garlanding the convicts when they walked out of the jail.
A BJP MLA added fuel to the row saying the convicts were "Brahmins" with "good sanskar".
The controversy reached its peak after Justice UD Salvi, who had convicted the 11 men, also raised questions on the release.
"Did they ask the judge under whom the case was heard? I can tell you that I heard nothing regarding this... In such cases, the state government needs to take advice from the central government as well. Did they do that? I have no idea. If they did, what did the central government say," Justice Salvi told NDTV.
"I don't know if they went through the procedure or not," he added.
Bilkis Bano, who was five-month pregnant in 2002, was gangraped while fleeing the violence which broke out during the Godhra train carnage.
Days after the release, the survivor had said the state government's order had shaken her belief in the justice system.
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