Bilkis Bano gangrape case: Human rights activists, Congress welcome Bombay HC order
Opposition Congress and human rights activists on Thursday welcomed the judgment of the Bombay High Court in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case.
Ahmedabad: Opposition Congress and human rights activists on Thursday welcomed the judgment of the Bombay High Court in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case, saying that all victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots should get justice.
Activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been fighting for the victims of post-Godhra communal violence through her organisation Citizen for Justice and Peace, noted that apart from upholding the conviction of 12 people sentenced by the lower court, the high court set aside the acquittal of five policemen.
She, however, said that she never supported the CBI's plea for death penalty to three of the convicts and lauded the court for dismissing it.
"We had in any case argued against death penalty. The fact that the court has upheld the conviction and also convicted five policemen is a welcome judgement," she said.
Opposition Congress in Gujarat said that all victims should get justice.
"We had always demanded that the victims should get justice. And justice should be done. We would not like to make any further comment on the judgement of the High Court, but we would say, 'der aaye. durust aaye' (better late than never)," Congress' national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said.
Gujarat cabinet minister and BJP leader Rajendra Trivedi, who has been in the past involved in legal proceedings related to several riots cases as a practising lawyer, refused to comment on the development.
"I was not involved in the case, so I cannot comment on this," he said.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld a trial court's sentence awarding life imprisonment to 12 people in the case while setting aside the acquittal of seven persons including policemen and doctors.
The court also dismissed an appeal filed by CBI seeking death penalty for three of the convicts.
According to the prosecution, on 3 March, 2002, Bilkis Bano's family was attacked by a group of persons at Randhikpur village in Dahod district when they were fleeing to escape a marauding mob during the post-Godhra riots.
While Bilkis — who was five months pregnant — was gangraped, seven members of her family were killed. Six others escaped.
'Why so few vaccines?': Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope accuses Centre of 'discrimination' over jab supply
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope also said he has raised the "issue of vaccine discrimination" towards Maharashtra with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who has assured him that corrections will be made soon
Lashing out at the BJP over the incident, Pinarayi Vijayan had urged the Centre to take action, saying such incidents tarnish the image of the nation
The TMC turncoat who is BJP's candidate from Mamata Banerjee's home constituency Bhabanipur also alleged that MPs and MLAs in the TMC can't even spend welfare funds for the development of their areas because of the cut-money business