Democracy in "danger", BJP violating Constitution: Gehlot on Bilkis Bano case

  • | Wednesday | 17th August, 2022

Vadodara, Aug 17 (PTI) Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday lashed out at the BJP over the early release of all the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots and claimed democracy was in "danger" under the saffron party and the Constitution has been violated in several other instances too.Gehlot, who is on a two-day Gujarat visit, questioned the timing of the release of these 11 convicts on August 15, when the country was celebrating 75 years of Independence."This (Bilkis Bano) is not the only case. There are many such instances which took place in the country wherein the BJP has violated the Constitution. Our democracy is in danger under the BJP," the Congress observer for the Gujarat Assembly elections told reporters here when asked about the release of the convicts who were serving life sentence."Bilkis Bano"s case (release of convicts) reflects that ideology (of BJP). Otherwise, what was the logic of releasing these convicts on August 15?" asked Gehlot.During his visit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state, the Rajasthan Chief Minister will hold meetings with Gujarat Congress leaders about their preparedness for the Assembly polls due by the year-end.He started his Gujarat tour from Vadodara by holding a meeting with party leaders from the central Gujarat zone.On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gang rape case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their release under its remission policy.A special CBI court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment on charges of Bilkis Bano"s gang rape and murder of seven of her family members during the communal riots triggered by the torching of a coach of Sabarmati Express by a mob near Godhra station on February 27, 2002. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence following which the government formed a committee. Later, the state government decided on the early release of all the convicts in the case.However, Opposition parties have slammed the BJP over the release of the convicts, saying the move was in violation of the Centre"s guidelines. PTI COR PJT PD RSY RSY

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