Multiple FIRs and police complaints have been lodged against the convicts, stating that they harassed and threatened witnesses while out on parole
Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government, defending the 11 Bilkis Bano’s rapists, who killed her entire family in the 2002 Gujarat Riots, told Supreme Court that they were granted remission for their “good behavior in prison.” The Centre too approved this decision of the state government.
But now the “good behavior” claims have been smashed down by FIRs of harassment against those 11 convicts. According to NDTV reports, multiple FIRs and police complaints have been lodged against the convicts, stating that they harassed and threatened witnesses while out on parole. This is contrary to the “good behavior” justification.
Gujarat government had also claimed that no evidence of any wrongdoing while serving imprisonment was found against the 11 rapists.
NDTV reported that between 2017-2021, at least four witnesses in the Bilkis Bano case registered complaints and FIRs against the convicts.
An FIR dated July 6, 2020, was registered against two of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah and Miteshbhai Bhatt.
Under sections 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 504 (intimidation), 506 (2) (threat to kill), and 114 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) the FIR was registered at Radhikpur police station in Dahod, by Saberaben Patel, and a witness in the Bilkis Bano case, Pintubhai.
NDTV reported that the FIR states, “Three men, including two convicts and Radheshyam’s brother Ashish, threatened Saberaben, her daughter Arfa and witness Pintubhai for implicating them with their statements.”
At Dahod Police Station, Mansuri Abdul Razzaq Abdul Majid, another witness, filed a police complaint against Sailesh Chimmanlal Bhatt on January 1, 2021. In his complaint, he too alleged threats from the convict while he was out on parole.
Further in the complaint, it was also alleged that Limkheda MLA Sailesh Bhai Bhabhor and former minister of state and Lok Sabha MP Jaswantsing Bhabhor felicitated Bhatt for his “good deeds.” A photocopy of BJP leaders sharing the stage with Bhatt was also attached, reported NDTV. This complaint never turned into an FIR.
NDTV also reported that On July 28, 2017, two additional witnesses, Ghanchi Adambhai Ismailbhai and Ghanchi Imtiazbhai Yusufbhai, complained about Govind Nai, one of the convicts. The applicants said that if they refused to “compromise,” the accused would kill them. As with the last complaint, no FIR was ever filed.
On August 15 the convicts were freed from jail and outside the jail, in Gujarat, they were greeted with garlands and sweets like heroes.
Yesterday the Supreme Court stated that Gujarat’s reply to why the convicts were freed quoted a series of judgments but factual statements were missed.
“I have not come across a counter affidavit where a series of judgments are quoted. Factual statement should have been made. A very bulky counter. Where is the factual statement, where is the application of mind?” a bench headed by Justice Ajay Rastogi observed.
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