Bilkis Bano case: Gujarat government released all 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment, released under exemption policy
As the trial was going on in Ahmedabad, Bilkis Bano feared that the witnesses might be harmed. He said the evidence collected by the CBI can be tampered with. On this appeal, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.
The Gujarat government had issued orders for the release of all eleven convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case as part of its exemption policy. Now on Monday all these eleven convicts have been released from Godhra sub-jail. On January 21, 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai sentenced eleven people to life imprisonment for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven family members.
Later the Bombay High Court upheld the sentence of all the convicts. These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail. One of these convicts had approached the Supreme Court for his premature release. Panchmahal Collector Sujal Mayatra said that the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence. After this the government formed a committee. Sujal Mayatra is the chairman of this panel.
Mayatra said that the committee constituted a few months ago took a unanimous decision in favor of releasing all the 11 convicts in the case. After this, the committee sent its recommendation to the state government, after which orders for his release were received yesterday. It is known that after the Godhra incident on 3 March 2002, riots broke out in Gujarat. During these riots, a mob attacked the family of Bilkis Bano in Randhikpur village of Limkheda taluka of Dahod district.
Five months pregnant Bilkis Bano was gang-raped in the riots. Not only this, seven members of his family were murdered. The accused in the case were arrested in 2004. As the trial was going on in Ahmedabad, Bilkis Bano feared that the witnesses might be harmed. He said the evidence collected by the CBI can be tampered with. On this appeal, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.