Days after the 11 convicts walked out of Godhra sub-jail, the outrage over their release has not abated with at least two pleas in the Supreme Court challenging their release.
On Tuesday, at least two pleas challenged the Gujarat government's release of 11 persons convicted of gangraping Bilkis Bano and murdering 14 members of her family while they were fleeing their home during the 2002 communal riots in the state.
The plea filed by CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and Professor Roop Rekha Verma sought to set aside the remission order and the immediate re-arrest of the 11 convicts.
The premature release of the 11 convicts not only violate state and central government policies on remission, but also "no right-thinking authority applying any test under any extant policy would consider it fit to grant remission to persons who are found to have been involved in the commission of such gruesome acts," the plea filed by the three women said.
The petitioners submitted they were also disturbed by the Gujarat government's silence and apathy in the grant of remission en masse to the 11 persons who committed a crimes that would chill even the most unfeeling hearts.
Premature release violate state's remission guidelines: Plea in SC
The premature release of the 11 convicts goes against the state and Centre's policies which clarify that prisoners sentenced for group murder of two or more persons or those serving life sentence are not eligible for remission, the plea said.
The plea further pointed out that the committee members who recommended early release were not entirely independent since they bore allegiance to a political party, and some were also sitting MLAs.
Recounting the series of events, the plea said that Bilkis Bano and her family of 14 were attacked by at least 25 people carrying sickles, lathis, and swords. While her three-year-old child was smashed against the ground and killed, Bano along with her female relatives was brutally gang-raped and the men attacked. When Bano came to hours after the attack, she found herself to be naked and the sole survivor in her group, the plea said.
In such a case, 14 years in jail amounted to no punishment at all, said the plea.