On Bilkis Bano Case, Sharad Pawar’s Appeal To Maharashtra

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On Monday, the Supreme Court had cancelled the remission granted by the Gujarat government.

Mumbai:

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday appealed to the Maharashtra government to take the case of Bilkis Bano – who was gang raped and her seven family members murdered in 2002 – seriously and keep in mind what the Supreme Court has said about the “heinous crime”.

The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the remission granted by the Gujarat government to 11 convicts in the case, while slamming the state for being “complicit” with an accused and abusing its discretion.

It ordered all the convicts, who were released prematurely on Independence Day in 2022, back to jail within two weeks.

Excoriating the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court said it “usurped” the power of the Maharashtra government to grant remission to the convicts.

After Bilkis Bano voiced apprehension over tampering with evidence and risk to witnesses, the Gujarat High Court had transferred the trial in the case from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. The 11 convicts in the case can approach the Maharashtra government with a request for remission of their sentences.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Pawar said, “Looking at what the woman has gone through and that seven members of her family were killed, I feel the Maharashtra government will take this case seriously.”

“My request is to take this case seriously and keep in mind what the Supreme Court has said about whoever is involved in this heinous crime. The Maharashtra chief minister and home minister should take this case seriously,” Pawar said.

The government should take such a decision that a message goes out that such crimes are not accepted in the society, he added.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was raped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident in February 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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