As India celebrated its 75th Independence day a couple of days ago, the government of Gujarat set free the 11 convicts who were serving life sentences for rape and murder in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case.
Bilkis lost 7 members of her family and her own will to live after she was gang raped by some anti-social elements who also allegedly murdered her family members back in 2002 during the Gujarat riots.
The court now released the culprits saying that they have completed 15 years of imprisonment and their conduct was good while in jail.
The court also refused to enhance the punishment of life imprisonment saying, “We cannot be unmindful of the fact that the incident occurred in 2002, 15 years have elapsed since then. These accused have been in custody all this while. Looking at this fact, after a gap of 15 years, we are not inclined to enhance the sentence,” reported India Today.
Reacting to the release of the convicts in the case, Bilkis said in a statement, “When I heard that the convicts who had devastated my family and life had walked free, I was bereft of words. I am still numb.”
Adding that the decision was “unjust”, she said that it had shaken her faith in justice.
“How can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice.”
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) August 17, 2022
She was not alone in condemning the government’s decision to release the culprits to a hero’s welcome. Several well-known personalities and the general public alike criticized this verdict.
This is a Blot on the Collective Conscience of our Nation
Rapists being garlanded & treated like war heroes or freedom fighters!!!
Remember, what happened to #BilkisBano today can happen to anyone of us tomorrow
Speak up India 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/KwvU4vufMe
— KTR (@KTRTRS) August 18, 2022
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) August 18, 2022
The 11 men who were convicted of gang-raping then 21 year old Bilkis Bano and murdering 7 members of her family are free, their life sentence remitted. If they roam around in the same village as Bilkis, will she ever be able to live a normal life? Is this ‘justice’? #BilkisBano pic.twitter.com/ofFdBuuycM
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 16, 2022
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When you let off a rap!st, you make it unsafe for ALL women. When you feed him laddoo and garland him, you make it unsafe for the entire humankind. By validating his crime, you create a monster for yourself. We, as a nation, are on a very wrong path. #BilkisBano
— Sayema (@_sayema) August 18, 2022
On Monday, when India 🇮🇳 marked its 75th anniversary of independence — the 11 men convicted of rape & murdering #BilkisBano were set free to cheers and a heroes welcome by Hindutva bigots. This is #India. pic.twitter.com/LuZkSSukV8
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) August 18, 2022
“Beti Padhao Beti Bachao” is it a slogan or a warning? #BilkisBano
— Nitish Rajput (@nitishrajpute) August 17, 2022
However, C.K Raulji, a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly justified the release of the rape convicts by saying that they are ‘Brahmins’ and have ‘good sanskar’.
In a video that’s now going viral, C.K Raulji is seen saying, “I don’t know whether they committed any crime or not. But there has to be the intention of committing a crime.”
“They were Brahmins and Brahmins are known to have good sanskaar. It might have been someone’s ill intention to corner and punish them.”
“They are Brahmins,Men of Good Sanskaar. Their conduct in jail was good": BJP MLA #CKRaulji who was on the panel that recommended release of 11 convicts who gang-raped #BilkisBano & killed her child. @ashish_ramola from the ground.
Full interview here: https://t.co/uyPBGyRRnr pic.twitter.com/WRWZ6PjVMh
— Mojo Story (@themojostory) August 18, 2022
His statement was met with a lot of criticism online.
One can postulate two things from this:
(1) If you are Brahman, rape & murder are not a crimes but sanskaar.
(2) Since it is not a crime but sanskaar, why would you be in jail?https://t.co/7jwd9YM6cd
— Nilim Dutta (@NilimDutta) August 18, 2022
“Brahman ka sanskar achaa tha” that means brahmanwad gang rape comes under “Achcha Sanskar” thoooooo hai is brahmanwad per or aisi soch rakhne wale insan per…
— Aftab Alam (@alamimam273) August 18, 2022
Doob k mar jao , if this is good sanskaar imagine the bad ones https://t.co/ndeW6Rw5Rl
— Maj Yogesh Dahiya🇮🇳 (@dahiyayogesh81) August 18, 2022
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 18, 2022
Being a Brahmin is the certificate of good Sanskar?
Good Sanskar allows to rape and murder?
— Fazlur Rahman فضل الرحمان (@fazlur31) August 18, 2022
This statement is disgusting, shows the filthy mindset of BJP MLA.
For the Bhim Gang people, he is wrong, they were NOT released because they’re Brahmins, they’re released under 1992 Remmission policy of Gujarat Govt.
The release was inarguably wrong, but has no caste in it.
— Feluda (@feludamitter) August 18, 2022
So good-sanskar brahmins rape.
— sexy fluffle 🌵🏳️🌈 (@thokkath0takura) August 18, 2022
Men of good sanskaar who rape and murder?
Something terribly wrong with our sanskaar. Are these people born of a womb or did they crawl out of some hole ?
— TheWayfarer (@TheWayfarer14) August 18, 2022
Here’s another Indian politician who says ‘you cannot call them rapists now as they have served their punishment’.
“You cannot call them rapists now.”
says Sunil Bansal, VHP (on men who killed 14 people including children and raped a 5 month pregnant woman)
— Alishan Jafri (@alishan_jafri) August 17, 2022
Well, if this is good sanskar then clearly there’s a problem with the sanskaar givers.