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40,000 people signed memorandum in K’taka, sent to CJI, pleads him to cancel remission of 11 Bilkis Bano convicts

More than 40,000 people from 29 districts of Karnataka, in their signature campaign, ‘Karnataka with Bilkis’ has sent a memorandum to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit and requested him to cancel the remission granted to 11 convicts sentenced to life in the Bilkis Bano case and sent them back to jail for their entire life.

“The remission granted to the 11 convicts must be revoked and the convicts must be sent back to jail for life. After the Nirbhaya case, the subsequent changes in the remission policy since 2014 already recognise that rape and murder are heinous crimes that do not deserve remission,” the 7-page memorandum, a copy, revealed.

“Grant Bilkis Bano and her family all the necessary security to protect them from further threats and harassment, restore them their right to rebuild their lives, live in peace and find normalcy. Protection also needs to be provided to witnesses and supporters,” the memorandum said.

It further said that the visuals of the convicts being garlanded and feted with a hero’s welcome was adding insult to injury to Bilkis Bano and all the women in our country. It is shocking too that despite only one of the convicts applying for remission a blanket remission has been granted to all the 11 convicts despite the law clearly requiring each case of remission to be considered separately.

This signature campaign in Karnataka that is part of these ongoing protests was also done in solidarity with the Padayatra in Gujarat by civil society activists led Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey between September 26 and October 4 that sought to apologise to Bilkis Bano for the grievous act of injustice perpetrated on Bilkis Bano, the memorandum sent to CJI said.

The padayatra was changed into a hunger fast as Gujarat state has not permitted them to walk there. This campaign has been done on foot through almost all the districts of the State in Karnataka without the use of social media or campaigning portals.

Sending these eleven men back to jail as per law will communicate to the people of India that the Supreme Court will work to ensure the dignity, freedom and safety of all women especially those from vulnerable and targeted communities, the letter written to the CJI said.

Karnataka with Bilkis hopes that the CJI will pay heed to all these voices across the country that have spoken out against the remission and felicitation of rapists and murderers and uphold our constitutional values restoring our faith in an unbiased, fair and conscientious judiciary.

Bilkis Bano was gang raped by these 11 men during the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in February 2002. Bilkis, who was also 5 months pregnant had to witness the brutal killing of her 3-year-old daughter and the gang rape of her mother, sister, aunts all of who were killed along with 14 members of her family by a mob of 25 men. She survived only because the attackers thought she was dead.



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