Following the Bombay High Court verdict on the convicts of the Bilkis Bano rape case that took place during the Gujarat riots of 2002, Bano opened up about her views on the judgment. She said that it has been 15 years since she prayed for justice and finally that day has arrived. During the press conference, Bano said she is proceeding to start her life afresh and that the 11 convicts on the case should not be freed on parole at all.
Hailing the verdict giving by the HC in which upheld the verdict of life imprisonment by the trial court, Bano said, “I am very happy with the verdict. It has ensured that people can have faith in the country’s judicial system and expect justice.”
Bano is married to a man named Yakub and both of them believe that for them to live without fear, it is necessary for the convicts to be behind bars at all times.
“The verdict is an opportunity for us to make a new beginning. For the last 15 years, we have been living in constant fear, changing places, not able to go back home. It is important that the convicts are not granted parole,” said Bano.
“After the trial court’s sentencing in 2008, several of the convicts came out of jail with parole. We used to live in constant fear of retribution, threats and fear of being killed. The High Court should ensure that the convicts are not given parole now,” said Yakub.
Activist Kavita Krishnan and National Award-winning film director Shonali Bose were also present at the press meet. Bose said, “While it might be too little too late, nonetheless, the verdict is historic in the sense that perhaps for the first time, policemen have been convicted for covering heinous crimes.”
She was speaking about the five policemen that the HC has ordered not to free in the Gujarat riot case.
The policemen had been acquitted by the trial court in 2008. However, the CBI had sought life imprisonment for them because they are charged with tampering of evidence by “fudging documents and compromising the inquest panchnama (diary)”.
“Bilkis and Yakub along with their daughters have spent a long time in fear and apprehension. We, therefore demand that no parole be granted to any of the convicts,” she said.
Picture credit- Indian Express