New Delhi, 17th Aug. 2022: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has condemned the release of those convicted in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and the murder of seven members of her family.
In a media statement, JIH Vice President Prof. Salim Engineer has expressed dismay over the role of the Gujarat government in ensuring the release of those convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case. He said, “such decisions that are aimed at reaping political dividends to appease a particular constituency are highly objectionable.” He hoped that the apex court will intervene in the matter to reverse this grave injustice carried out under the guise of official government policy.
Pressing that the remission policy should be applied for those languishing in jails for petty crimes not for those who have been convicted for heinous crimes like rape and murder, the JIH Vice President said, “if state governments are allowed to free criminals of their choice through a remission policy despite being convicted for heinous crimes, then this will make a mockery of our justice dispensation system and the citizens will lose hope in the system. Justice for all is one of the most abiding principles of our Constitution and if this trend continues then democracy will be weakened. This is bound to embolden the foot soldiers and their masterminds as they will be confident of being bailed out by the system sooner or later despite committing the most heinous crimes. The manner in which these convicts are being felicitated and lauded is quite reprehensible. It also exposes our hypocrisy in being promoters of Nari Shakti and guardians of women’s honour and dignity.”
Prof. Salim said,” those released in the Bilkis Bano rape case were convicted by the CBI court and the decision was upheld by the Bombay High Court. Out of 11 convicts, only one had approached the Supreme Court for the remission of sentence after which the apex court directed the Gujarat state government to look into his appeal for premature release.” However, he added, “the state government formed a panel and decided in favour of remission of all the 11 convicted. When we note this sequence of events, it undeniably sets a dangerous precedent that will shake the foundations of our justice delivery system. The decision must be reversed if we want to preserve democracy and the rule of law.”