The remission granted to the 11 life convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and mass murder case has left more than 50 faculty and staff members of IIM Bangalore “stunned and deeply anguished.” They have pleaded with the Supreme Court to “respond most urgently” to her “right to live without fear and in peace.”
The 54 signatories stated in a letter written to India’s Chief Justice that they were writing in their official capacities and expressed “solidarity with Bilkis and her battle for justice.”
In the letter to the CJI, the 54 signatories said, “The crimes committed by the eleven men granted remission was no ordinary crimes. They were accused and convicted of gang rape and murders of the most depraved and inhumane kind. The Supreme Court itself upheld their conviction in 2008.”
The Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the Gujarat government’s grant of remission to the 11 convicts serving a life term for gang-raping Bilkis and killing seven family members, including her three-year-old daughter, during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
It continued, “Bilkis Bano, who survived to tell the tale, fought for justice for over seventeen years. This remission is not only a denial of justice but also presents a real and immediate danger to Bilkis Bano and her family. The sympathetic treatment these convicted men have received is shocking. What kind of a nation are we turning into if Bilkis Bano is left to defend herself while her violators get a hero’s welcome?”
“We are stunned and deeply anguished by this act of the Government of Gujarat. We look to our legal system and courts to deliver on the promise. We as a nation have solemnly resolved to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity for all citizens. The horrors that Bilkis Bano underwent in 2002 should not be experienced by any woman anywhere. This remission is bound to encourage perpetrators of such heinous crimes while simultaneously extinguishing the hope of millions of Indians who look up to the courts to deliver justice,” the letter added.
“The Supreme Court must respond most urgently to Bilkis Bano’s right ‘to live without fear and in peace. As Bilkis poignantly asks, ‘How can justice for any woman end like this?’ We appeal to you, Honourable Chief Justice, to enable us to continue to repose our trust in the Supreme Court,” the letter said.