Protesters in Bengaluru demand justice for Bilkis Bano

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A large number of people from all walks of life, including women’s organisations, workers’ unions, student unions, lawyers and artists, gathered at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru and demanding justice for gang rape victim, Bilkis Bano.

The protesters condemned the remission of sentence demanding that the same be invalidated and the culprits be immediately sent back to prison to continue their full life term. Similar protests simultaneously took place in 15 districts across the state.

The 11 convicts were serving a life sentence for the brutal gang rape of Bilkis Bano and several other women of her family along with the murder of her family members, including her three-year-old daughter, during the anti-Musim riots in Gujarat in 2002.

Speaking during the protest, K S Vimala of All India Democratic Women Association asked why rapists were welcomed back as war heroes and why the government released them.

Nandini, an activist and member of Slum Mahila Sanghatane, said, “The remission again shows how we have not yet received social independence”. She stressed how real independence will be won only if communalism is fought and caste is annihilated.

Dr K Mohanraj, state convener, Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, attacked the government for playing the religion and caste cards when there were serious problems, like unemployment facing the country. “The Dalit community stands strongly with Bilkis”, he said.—INP

 

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