All 11 Convicts in Bilkis Bano Gangrape Case Surrender Before Godhra Jail Authorities

Bilkis Bano Case

In a significant development, all 11 convicts involved in the notorious Bilkis Bano gangrape case surrendered before the Godhra jail authorities at 11:45 pm on Sunday, meeting the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Local Crime Branch inspector NL Desai confirmed the surrender, stating that the convicts had reached the jail before midnight on January 21, in accordance with the court’s directive. The Supreme Court had sternly refused to grant an extension for surrender, dismissing reasons such as ill-health, winter crop harvest, and a son’s marriage as lacking merit.

The apex court had earlier quashed the Gujarat government’s decision made in August 2022 to prematurely release the 11 convicts, who were serving life sentences. The court ordered their return to jail within two weeks, emphasizing that the reasons for their release were not valid.

On Independence Day in 2022, the 11 convicts, who had spent 14 years in jail as part of a life sentence, were granted premature release based on the Gujarat government’s acceptance of their remission applications. The state had cited their good conduct during imprisonment as per its 1992 policy.

However, the Supreme Court, in its January 8 judgment, declared that the Gujarat government lacked jurisdiction to entertain remission applications. The court emphasized that only the government of the state where the offenders were sentenced had the authority to consider such applications and pass an order.

Bilkis Bano, 21 years old and five months pregnant at the time, was brutally gang-raped while attempting to escape the horrors of communal riots following the Godhra train burning incident in 2002. The surrender of the convicts marks a critical step towards justice and adherence to the Supreme Court’s directives in this long-standing case.

 

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