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Shabana Azmi On Release Of Bilkis Bano Convicts: “This Is Great Travesty Of Justice”

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Shabana Azmi has reacted to the release of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case. The acclaimed actor said she was stunned at the sheer injustice of it and the silence of the society in general.

The 11 men, who were sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the gang rape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots, and the murder of seven members of her family, walked out of the jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They served more than 15 years in jail.

Shabana Azmi reacts to release of Bilkis Bano convicts

In an interview with NDTV, Azmi broke down in tears and said she was “deeply ashamed” on the government’s decision to set the convicts free.  “This woman (Bano) has had such a huge tragedy. And yet she didn’t lose courage. She fought all the way. She got these people convicted and, like her husband says, just when she’s about to bring her life together, this great travesty of justice happens…Shouldn’t we be shouting from the rooftops so that justice is done to this person? And the women who are feeling unsafe in this country, women who face the threat of rape every day – shouldn’t they get some sense of security?”

The actor has also joined a recent protest by students and women’ groups in Delhi and also shared a video asking for justice.

“I just expected there would be an outpouring of outrage. I waited two days, three days…There was such little visibility in the media. Why this complete silence in Bilkis case?”

She further noted on how the convicts were felicitated with laddoos after their release. The actor asked what’s the ‘signal we are giving to society and women’.

On 25 August, the Supreme Court heard the petitions challenging the remission and sought a response from the Gujarat government regarding the plea and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.


Suggested Reading: Bilkis Bano Calls Decision To Free Convicts ‘Unjust’, But Who Is Listening To Her?