'I am shocked that...': Sharad Pawar slams PM Modi over release of Bilkis Bano convicts
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday (September 10, 2022) slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shown the country how it defines honour for women. In a series of tweets, Pawar, who was re-elected as NCP president for four years at a convention in New Delhi on Saturday, cited Prime Minister Modi's August 15 speech to attack him.
"I am shocked that on August 15, the Prime Minister of the country, while addressing the countrymen from the Red Fort, talked about women's honour and two days later the BJP government in the prime minister's home state reduced the sentence of those who committed atrocities against Bilkis Bano and her family," Pawar said in Hindi.
11 men convicted in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano's gang-rape and murder of her seven family members during the Gujarat riots walked out free from the Godhra sub-jail last month after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court this week said that it will hear after three weeks the pleas challenging the remission of sentence and release of the 11 convicts.
The apex court also asked the counsel for the Gujarat government to place before it the relevant records within two weeks.
Earlier on August 25, the top court had sought responses from the Centre and the Gujarat government to a petition challenging the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the case. The court had issued notice on a plea filed by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revathy Laul and activist Roop Rekha Rani.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five-month pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.