Bilkis Bano case convicts release with eye on elections: Congress

The party said that the grant of premature release to the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case is "a stain on this government'ss legacy that will never wash off".

New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday questioned the Union government for the preferential treatment given to the Bilkis Bano case convicts, alleging that it has been done for elections.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Gujarat government affidavit “proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the release was a political decision made with not just the knowledge but the concurrence of those in the highest echelons of power in the Modi government”.

He questioned why the Modi Government, despite the objections of senior officials, sought to grant preferential treatment to individuals convicted of such a reprehensible, horrific, and heinous crime.

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“Has the Modi government decided to pardon all convicted rapists and child murders who have served a certain period? With what face will the Modi government now oppose demands for parole which cite this precedent? Will such treatment be granted to all individuals who are accused of heinous offences? Or was this a limited time offer contingent on the upcoming elections?” he asked.

The party said that the grant of premature release to the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case is “a stain on this government’ss legacy that will never wash off”.

“It is repugnant, reprehensible, and revolting, that an elected government in a democracy chose to release these convicts in such a cavalier manner,” Singhvi added.

He said the revelations came to light when the Gujarat government, in its reply in the ongoing Bilkis Bano case before the Supreme Court, revealed that the Centre had given its “concurrence and approval” for the release of the individuals convicted of gang rape and the murder of a 3.5-year-old child and various members of her family.

“When the release was ordered on August 15, 2022, the Modi government had maintained a studied and deliberate silence on the release of the criminals, an action which has since drawn legitimate criticism the world over and exposed our system to widespread shame and ridicule,” Singhvi said.

He said that there are many compromises in politics, “but the BJP has made the greatest compromise of all; A sacrifice of the last shred of conscience that separated them from those craven and venal elements who prize solely their own political survival over all else”.

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