BJP stands exposed for ‘helping’ convicts, should apologise to country’s women: Cong on Bilkis verdict


PTI, Jan 8, 2024, 8:23 PM IST

The Congress on Monday accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Gujarat of helping in the premature release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape case and said the ruling party should apologise to the women of the country after the Supreme Court sent the convicts back to jail.

Hailing the Supreme Court verdict that quashed the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to the 11 convicts, the opposition party said it has ”fully exposed” the true face of the BJP’s ”anti-women stand”.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict, said the Gujarat government abused its power by releasing the men convicted of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and murdering seven of her family members during the 2002 riots and directed that they be sent back to jail within two weeks.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed the verdict exposes the ”misdeeds” of the Home Ministry and the Gujarat Government and shows how the BJP can deny justice to a woman only to win elections.

”’Save the daughter’ became ‘Save the culprit’! The decision of the Supreme Court in the Bilkis Bano case is the restoration of justice. It exposes the misdeeds of the Home Ministry of Modi Government and the Gujarat Government,” he posted in Hindi on X.

Soon after the judgement, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the verdict has shown once again who the ”protector of criminals” is.

In a post in Hindi on ‘X’, Gandhi said, ”The tendency to ‘murder justice’ for electoral gains is dangerous for a democratic system.

”Today, the Supreme Court’s decision once again showed the country who gives ‘patronage to criminals’.” Bilkis Bano’s tireless struggle symbolises the victory of justice against the arrogant BJP government,” the former Congress chief added.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the court has shown the mirror to the BJP.

”The process adopted by the ruling BJP in protecting rapists and their premature release, now they are not getting any place to hide their faces.

”All the ‘jumlas’ of the BJP stand exposed and the real face of BJP has come out. Despite being in jail, all these culprits were given a lot of facilities by the BJP’s central and state governments. But sins cannot be hidden or done away with for long,” Singhvi alleged.

He said the arms and the ears and eyes of the law are long and ultimately the wheels of justice crush very finely.

”This judgement, (going by) the content, the contours, it is a revolutionary judgement. Because it speaks the truth, it shows the mirror to arrogant power to punch drunk power,” he said, noting that the Congress had questioned the release of the convicts.

He also said that on July 11, 2022, ”the Ministry of Home Affairs had given its sanction and concurrence for the premature release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.” ”Where are you hiding behind the veil, where are you running away,” he said and alleged that the government lawyers tried to delay the case by asking for more time.

”But PM Modi did not say a word on this attitude of his government,” Singhvi said.

Mahila Congress chief Alka Lamba said when the prime minister was giving a speech on the Amrit Mahotsav on Independence from the Red Fort on 15 August 2022, the rapists of Bilkis Bano were being released in Gujarat.

”After this decision of the Supreme Court, PM Modi and BJP leaders should apologise to crores of daughters of the country, because the BJP stands exposed today,” she said.

AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said the entire BJP leadership owes an apology to Bilkis Bano. She has faced continuous humiliation at the hands of the Modi-led BJP governments in Gujarat and the Centre, he said.

”The Supreme Court verdict is a tight slap on the face of those who set the rapists free and garlanded them,” he said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said justice has ultimately prevailed.

”With this order, the veil over the anti-women policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been removed. After this, public confidence in the justice system will be further strengthened. Congratulations to Bilkis Bano for continuing her fight bravely,” she said in a post in Hindi on ‘X’.

Party MP Shashi Tharoor said that it will remain a ”bloodstained blot on the Gujarat government that it illegally releases these convicts and that a BJP leader justified it on the grounds that they were Brahmins!” ”This is a victory for justice — but also for the basic human values that traditionally animated our civilization, but have been increasingly shredded in the majoritarian frenzy that was unleashed in 2014. Those who are struggling to heal India’s soul can breathe a small sigh of relief today,” he said.

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