Thane: The Thane-Palghar Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) women's units on Saturday, August 27 protested against the release of 11 convicts by the Gujarat government in the Bilkis Bano case. The protest was held at Kalwa, where more than 200 women activists participated and indulged in sloganeering against the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) at the centre and Gujarat.
On one hand, there is a debate sparking on the issue of relief in heinous cases like rape, but on the other hand, the consequent release of 11 convicts from Godhra sub-jail in Gujarat took place on August 15, raising a question on the decision initiated.
On the same day, NCP Mahila president, Thane-Palghar district, said, "The Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech spoke about empowering and respecting women, and on the same day in Gujarat, the 11 convicts who gang raped Bilkis Bano were released. We also sent a memorandum to President Draupadi Murmu through Thane district collector Rajesh Narvekar warning to intensify the agitation if the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case are not jailed again. "
Earlier A special CBI court in Mumbai had, on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment on charges of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that broke out after the Godhra train burning in 2002. Among those killed was her three-year-old daughter.
The agitation in Thane was a part of a pan India protest happening on Saturday, August 27 in solidarity with Bilkis Bano, and several protests were held across the country.
During the protest, present were Thane City Women's president Sujata Ghag, Surekhatai Patil, former corporator Aparna Salvi, Varsha More, Manali Patil, Manisha Salvi, Rachna Vaidya and others.