Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the remission to the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case, alleging that while there was talk of respect for women from the Red Fort, but in reality there was “support” for rapists.
His reaction came after the Gujarat government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it obtained “suitable orders” from the Centre for granting remission to the convicts in the case and the petitioners challenging the remission are nothing but an “interloper” and a “busybody”.
“Talk of respect for women from the ramparts of the Red Fort but in reality support for ‘rapists’,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
“The difference between the Prime Minister’s promises and intentions is clear, PM has only betrayed women,” he said.
The Gujarat government told the Supreme Court that since the investigation in the case was carried out by the CBI, it had obtained “suitable orders” for grant of remission to the convicts from the Centre.
The state government filed its reply on a PIL filed by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, Revati Laul, an independent journalist, and Roop Rekha Verma, who is a former vice chancellor of the Lucknow University.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident in 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI and the trial was transferred to a Maharashtra court by the Supreme Court. A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 men to life imprisonment on charges of gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and murder of seven members of her family.
Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.