Bilkis Bano case: Cong asks if PM believes in his own words on women's safety, respect

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 16-08-2022 22:35 IST | Created: 16-08-2022 22:35 IST
Bilkis Bano case: Cong asks if PM believes in his own words on women's safety, respect
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The Congress on Tuesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the release of 11 people convicted for rape and murder in the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots within hours of his praise for ''Nari Shakti'' in his Independence Day speech and alleged the decision reflects the BJP's mindset.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera asked whether the prime minister's statements had any meaning and said Modi should tell the country if he himself believed in his words when he spoke about the safety, respect and empowerment of women.

''The BJP government in Gujarat released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case. This decision brings out the BJP government's mindset,'' he told reporters.

He also referred to the Kathua and Unnao cases and said it embarrasses everyone in politics when office-bearers and supporters of a national political party are seen taking out a rally in favor of rapists on the streets.

''Yesterday, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister spoke big things about women's safety, women's power, women's respect. A few hours later the Gujarat government released those behind the rape. We also saw that the convicts in the rape who were released are being honoured. Is this the Amrit Mahotsav,'' Khera asked.

''The Congress asks the prime minister to tell the country that what he said from the ramparts of the Red Fort were merely words, as he himself did not believe in his words. ''Who is the real Narendra Modi? The one who serves falsehood from the ramparts of the Red Fort or the one who gets his Gujarat government to release those behind rape. This Congress party and the country want to know,'' the Congress leader asked.

He said in the Bilkis Bano case, the Supreme Court had ordered the Gujarat government to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakhs to her.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said, ''Hours after PM's exhortation to people to respect women, his hand-picked Gujarat govt grants remission of the remaining sentence to persons convicted of gang rape. Did the PM not know about the proposed action of the Gujarat govt? Did’nt the intelligence agencies forewarn the PM?'' ''Are you not shocked by pictures of the 11 released men being welcomed with sweets? PM's exhortation is 'words'. Gujarat government's decision is 'action'. People will match the 'word' with the 'action'. Actually, we should match every word of the BJP with the action of the BJP.'' He further said, ''Nari Shakti vs Vinash Shakti has played out in Gujarat. In granting remission to 11 persons convicted for gang rape, 'vinash shakti' has won in Gujarat.'' The 11 convicts who walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on Monday were convicted for gang rape of a pregnant woman, murder and unlawful assembly under sections of the Indian Penal Code. The Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment on charges of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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