Bilkis Bano Gang Rape Convict Share Stage with BJP MP and MLA at Government Function

BJP MP from Dahod, Gujarat Jaswantsinh Bhabhor shared a stage with Shailesh Bhatt on Saturday, 25 March. Bhatt, one of the 11 convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case.

Photos of both posing at the inauguration ceremony of a water supply scheme in Dahod have been shared by MP Jaswant Singh on Twitter. The event was also attended by Shaileshbhai Bhabhor, a BJP MLA from Limkheda, who can be seen in the photos shared by Singh, along with Shailesh Bhatt.

Bilkis Bano’s husband Yakub Rasool confirmed that the man in the photo is Shailesh Bhatt, who along with 10 others was sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 case.
Other officials present in the program included Singwad taluka panchayat chief Kantaben Damor and Dahod district panchayat deputy chief Ratan Bhai.

Bilkis Bano Gang Rape Convict with BJP MP and MLA at Government Function

Shailesh Bhatt and 10 others were convicted of the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 members of her family – including her three-year-old daughter – during the 2002 Gujarat riots. But these convicts were released from a sub-jail in Godhra on 15 August 2022 under the amnesty policy of the state government.

Following the acquittal of the convicts, Bano filed a petition for review of the Supreme Court’s May 2022 order which held that the Gujarat government was the appropriate authority to grant immunity to the convicts. The review petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court in December 2022.

Also read: Narendra Modi Govt Approved Bilkis Bano Rapists’ Release: Gujarat Govt Tells Supreme Court

However, on 24 March, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that a special bench would be constituted to hear the petition. It has been listed for hearing after Bano’s lawyer Shobha Gupta has brought the matter before the Supreme Court of India five times.

The petition has been listed for hearing on March 27 before a Supreme Court bench of Justice KM Joseph and Justice BV Nagaratna.

Bilkis Bano Gang Rape happened post-Godhra riots.

Following the Godhra carnage on March 3, 2002, riots erupted in Gujarat. During the riots, a violent mob entered the home of Bilkis Bano in Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. To evade the attackers, Bilkis and her family sought refuge in a nearby field. At the time, Bilkis was five months pregnant and 21 years old.

Bilkis was gang raped by the rioters, who also raped three other women, including her mother. During the brutal assault, seven of the seventeen members of Bilkis’s family were killed by the attackers, while six others went missing and were never found. Only Bilkis, a man, and a three-year-old child managed to survive the attack.

The gangrape accused were arrested in 2004. In January 2008, a special CBI court sentenced 11 convicts to life imprisonment.

The Bombay High Court had upheld the conviction of the accused. The accused were first kept in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai and then in Nashik Jail. After about 9 years, all were sent to the sub-jail of Godhra.