SC to hear Bilkis Bano’s plea against rapists’ release on Tuesday

When Bano was gangraped during the riots in Gujarat in 2002 that followed the Godhra train burning tragedy, she was 21 and five months pregnant.

On December 13, the Supreme Court will hear Bilkis Bano’s appeal against the pardon and release of 11 prisoners from the 2002 case involving her gangrape and the death of seven members of her family.

The case will be heard by a jury under the direction of Justice Ajay Rastogi. On August 15, Bano filed two petitions challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to release the prisoners early.

When Bano was gangraped during the riots in Gujarat in 2002 that followed the Godhra train burning tragedy, she was 21 and five months pregnant. One of the seven members of Bano’s family that perished was her 3-year-old daughter.

“The decision to once again stand up and knock on the doors of justice was not easy for me. For a long time, after the men who destroyed my entire family and my life were released, I was simply numb. I was paralysed with shock and with fear for my children, my daughters, and above all, paralysed by loss of hope.”

She added, “But, the spaces of my silence were filled with other voices; voices of support from different parts of the country that have given me hope in the face of unimaginable despair; and made me feel less alone in my pain. I cannot express in words what this support has meant to me.”

Bano said that the support to her cause from different parts of the country has helped her in rekindling her faith in humanity and renewed her courage to believe again in the idea of justice.

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