Union Min Prahlad Joshi backs release of Bilkis Bano rape convicts

Prahlad Joshi and BJP leader Hardik Patel defended the release of the convicts, however, Gujarat BJP MLA Alpesh Thakore said that the decision is unacceptable and described the crime as heinous and barbaric.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and BJP leader Prahlad Joshi and newly joined Hardik Patel backed the Centre’s decision to release the 11 convicts who were found guilty in the Bilkis Bano rape and killing of her family case during the notorious 2002 Gujarat riots case.

Speaking to NDTV, the minister defended his party’s decision by the convicts had spent “quite some time in jail.”

“When the government and the concerned people have taken the decision, I don’t find anything wrong in it as it is a process of law,” Joshi said who is currently campaigning for his party in Gujarat.

The Union Ministry for Home Affairs led by Amit Shah had given a green signal to the BJP-led Gujarat state government to release the convicts on August 15. It is learnt that five out of the ten members of the advisory board of the Gujarat remission policy are from BJP.

The minister also defended the Centre’s argument that the 11 convicts were released as they had completed 14 years in jail, as well as they, were “well behaved”.

Hardik Patel who recently quit Congress to join the saffron party also supported the release.

“The state government has the authority to release prisoners for good behaviour. I believe this is being deliberately projected wrongly. Of course, any criminal deserves punishment for their deeds,” Hardik Patel said. 

However, one BJP leader refused to go along the herd. Alpesh Thakore said the decision is unacceptable and described the crime as heinous and barbaric.

“I don’t accept it. Even good behaviour is not enough, for releasing such men. It is shameful that they were given sweets when they walked out of jail,” Mr Thakore said.

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