During the Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 during the Prime Ministership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the decision to release the perpetrators of the mass rape of a Muslim woman named Bilqis Bano in Godhra has been raised against India and foreign countries. Voices are beginning to rise.
Abraham Cooper, vice president of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said in a statement on Friday, “USCIRF has identified eleven perpetrators of the mass rape of a pregnant Muslim woman and the murder of Muslims during the Gujarat riots.” Condemns the premature and unjust release of individuals.”
USCIRF Vice Chair Abraham Cooper: “USCIRF strongly condemns the early and unjustified release of 11 men sentenced to life in prison for raping a pregnant Muslim woman and committing murder against Muslim victims during the 2002 Gujarat Riots.” #India https://t.co/Zqj2JjMaYb
During the Gujarat riots in 2002, Hindu miscreants attacked Bilqis Bano’s house and gang-raped her while she was five months pregnant. Criminals also killed 14 members of his family, including his three-year-old daughter. This incident sparked strong national and international protests and after a long legal battle, the Supreme Court sentenced eleven criminals to life imprisonment.
“The failure to hold accountable the perpetrators of physical and sexual violence in the 2002 Gujarat riots is a travesty of justice,” USCIRF Commissioner Stephen Schneck tweeted. This case is part of a pattern of impunity by perpetrating violence against religious minorities in India.”
Gujarat government’s 1992 amnesty policy is also being heavily criticized. Although rape or gang rape offenders are not entitled to amnesty under this policy, life imprisonment convicts were released.
The Gujarat government had approached the Supreme Court on the matter, which left the decision to the discretion of the state government. Under the amnesty policy, the decision to pardon an offender is taken by a ten-member committee constituted by the state government. Interestingly, the committee that decided to pardon the Balquis Bano gang rape culprits has five members belonging to the BJP.