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Monday, February 26, 2024

Rapists, Murderers Walk Free Again  

Monday, as the nation celebrated its ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, eleven persons who gang-raped Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat communal riots walked free. The panel that let them off called it “remission”, which is different from “relapse”. And, with these ‘11’, you never know when they’ll have a relapse. Anything is possible with a rapist on the loose. In this case, ‘11’ rapists on the loose, unpardonable pardons hanging from their britches. When told of the ‘11’ on the loose, Bilkis Bano couldn’t believe her ears. One news report said she broke down, and then clammed up, going as silent as the grave. The ‘11’ had not only gang-raped Bilkis Bano, but they had also murdered 14 family members, with the most horrible death reserved for her 3-year-old daughter. The toddler was swung by the feet and smashed to death on the floor. The ‘Gujarat Panel’, which set free the ‘11’ on remission, was of a different bent. Hard to believe, right? But, reports say, the Centre was against “remission”, meaning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t want the ‘11’ to walk.

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Monday, as the nation celebrated its ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, eleven persons who gang-raped Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat communal riots walked free. The panel that let them off called it “remission”, which is different from “relapse”. And, with these ‘11’, you never know when they’ll have a relapse. Anything is possible with a rapist on the loose. In this case, ‘11’ rapists on the loose, unpardonable pardons hanging from their britches. When told of the ‘11’ on the loose, Bilkis Bano couldn’t believe her ears. One news report said she broke down, and then clammed up, going as silent as the grave. The ‘11’ had not only gang-raped Bilkis Bano, but they had also murdered 14 family members, with the most horrible death reserved for her 3-year-old daughter. The toddler was swung by the feet and smashed to death on the floor. The ‘Gujarat Panel’, which set free the ‘11’ on remission, was of a different bent. Hard to believe, right? But, reports say, the Centre was against “remission”, meaning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t want the ‘11’ to walk.

 

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Bilkis Bano’s husband Yakub Rasool says his wife wants to be left alone, enough is enough. When convicts can walk, who dares to talk? The battle was fought, won, and lost again. Hard to believe, but whoever was it who thought a sentence of life imprisonment would be like a walk in the sun! The sequence of events runs thus. In May, the Supreme Court told the Gujarat government to decide on the remission for the ‘11’. Enough time had passed for everybody to forget Bilkis. That she was brutalised; that she had witnessed the murder of her three-year-old; that she was violated multiple times by multiple men, nothing counted. It’s a miracle that despite such extraordinary judgements, our courts do not fail stupendously! Sujal Mayatra, the district magistrate of Panchmahal, headed the Jail Advisory Committee (JAC) that handed out the “remission” to the ‘11’, a unanimous decision. The ‘11’ had completed 14 years in jail. Time to go home! But here, in India, it’s hard to believe that Sujal Mayatra’s JAC was so lenient, just, and fair! This was a premature release, no doubt about that. But it helps that the ‘11’ are now free to witness firsthand “democracy in action”, the Gujarat elections. The ‘11’ walked out of a sub-jail and were welcomed and feted by men of their faith at the gates of the sub-jail they had just then exited.

 

The ‘11’ now say they were innocent and were “victims of politics”. Politics, however, has many faces. There could also be politics behind the remission and release. Also, the BJP government is up to funny things, and incongruous things. Monday evening, the Modi government gave a sort of remission to the much-maligned Rohingya “refugees”, the same “termites” that Home minister Amit Shah wouldn’t give the time of the day to. The Rohingya will henceforth live in “pucca EWS houses”, will be provided with all amenities entitled to “refugees”, and also “24/7 police protection”. Kashmiri pandits are green with envy as they get killed helter-skelter. Appears like the Modi government is making amends for CAA, and because ‘Rohingya Lives Matter’ for ‘Pasmanda Muslims’, who happen to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest muse. In Gujarat, which is all set for polls, and where AAP is a challenge, Hindu lives, and Hindu votes, matter. Therefore, the remission, and Sorry Bilkis!

 

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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