On August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation from Red Fort harped on the honor and dignity of women. By evening, the Gujarat BJP government set free the 11 life-term convicts, sentenced to imprisonment in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case. The guilty, as they were proved, committed the heinous crime when the 21-year-old Bilkis was five months pregnant. They also stand guilty of murdering seven of her family members.
Ever since the “remission release,” the Opposition attacked the Gujarat government and NaMo. Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and Supreme Court lawyer Amee Yajnik, at a press conference at Rajiv Bhavan, Wednesday, lashed out saying: “At a time when the Prime Minister talks about women empowerment and respect while addressing the country from the Red Fort, the Gujarat government releases 11 men guilty of gangrape and murder. To add salt to the injury, sweets were distributed. There is clearly a difference between what the Prime Minister says and what he does.”
Reliving the horror that Bano went through, Yajnik questioned the “farce” of the PM’s speech. As she put it: “She was gangraped for three hours when she was pregnant. And now, 20 years later, the law of the land is setting free the law-breakers. Is this the “achche din” that Modi spoke about?”
Mincing no words, she pointed fingers at the Modi-Shah combine, adding that “both are from Gujarat and would know each gory detail of the case. The PM, otherwise known to tweet even on inconsequential matters, is now silent while the Home minister has nothing to say. Is this what Modi meant when he said that the honor and dignity of women must not be compromised?”
Alluding to the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, Yajnik reminded how Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, spearheaded a protest for justice. “For the BJP, a rape is just an issue to gain power. Justice is not on their agenda,” she added.
From the legal perspective, Yajnik, an advocate herself, stated that the “remission” was not in line with the advisory issued to qualify convicts eligible to be released. She will soon raise the matter in the Upper House.
“In the last two years, Gujarat has officially registered 3,796 rapes, 61 gangrapes and 8,028 cases of harassment of women. This decision comes as a blow to all those victims. Added, the fact that they were greeted with sweets and victory drums when they stepped out of the jail, is surely a matter of disgrace for the entire nation,” noted Yagnik, adding that the RSS and right-wing elements are known to compromise the individuality of women for larger gains.