Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Who is Bilkis Bano and what happened to her in 2002?


All the eleven convicts who were sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang rape case were released from prison after the Gujrat government approved their application for remission of the sentence.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Gujrat, Raj Kumar said the remission application was considered because the convicts had completed 14 years in jail, according to Indian media reports.

Who is Bilkis Bano and what happened to her in 2002?

On February 27, 2002, Gujarat turned violent after the Sabarmati train was burnt in Godhra. Over 50 karsevaks were killed on the train. Fearing the outbreak of violence, Bilkis fled from her village named Randhikpur with her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and 15 other family members.

They took refuge in the Chhaparvad district. On March 3, Bilkis and her family members were attacked by about 30 people armed with sickles, swords, and sticks. Among the attackers were the 11 accused men.

Bilkis, her mother, and three other women were raped and brutally assaulted. Among the family members, only Bilkis, a man, and a three-year-old survived the attack.

According to reports, Bilkis regained consciousness three hours after the incident and after borrowing clothes from an Adivasi woman made her way to the Limkheda police station to register a complaint with the help of a home guard.

Bilkis was taken to a public hospital for medical examination. Her case was taken up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Supreme Court, which ordered an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Case

Eleven persons who were accused in the case were arrested in 2004 and the trial began in Ahmedabad. The apex court transferred the case to Mumbai.

On January 21, 2008, a special court convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for the incident. It, however, acquitted seven persons including the policemen and two doctors who were accused of tampering with evidence.

In 2017, the Bombay High Court upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of 11 people in the gang rape case.

In April 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the Gujarat government to give Rs5 million to Bano as compensation, along with a job and accommodation of her choice.


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