In her first statement after the release of 11 men, including those convicted of gang-raping her and murdering seven members of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots, Bilkis Bano on Wednesday asked how can justice for any woman end like this.
The convicts in the Bilkis Bano case were welcomed with sweets and garlands after they stepped out of the Godhra sub-jail in Gujarat after 15 years on Monday.
Read her full statement here:
As 11 men, including those convicted of raping her and murdering 10 members of her family, walked free.
Two days ago, on August 15, 2022 the trauma of the past 20 years washed over me again. When I heard that the 11 convicted men who devastated my family and my life, and took from me my 3 year old daughter, had walked free. I was bereft of words. I am still numb.
Today, I can say only this - how can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts In our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice. My sorrow and my wavering faiths not for myself alone but for eve, woman who is struggling for justice in courts.
No one enquired about my safety and well-being, before taking such a big and unjust decision.
I appeal to the Gujarat Government, please undo this harm. Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe.
What is the Bilkis Bano rape case?
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, had sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment on charges of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.