March 30, 2023

Md Jubair: The remission granted by the Gujarat government to 11 accused in the BilkisBano gang rape and murder case during the 2002 riots was challenged in the Supreme Court.

A bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana agreed to look into the matter after advocate AparnaBhat sought an urgent listing.

Senior advocate KapilSibal also mentioned the matter and said: “Supreme Court gave discretion to the government to consider it. We are challenging the remission, not the order of the Supreme Court.”

The plea before the apex court was filed by CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist RevatiLaul and social activist and Professor RoopRekhaVerma.

Earlier, over 6,000 people including activists and historians urged the Supreme Court to revoke the early release of the convicts in the case. Their release had triggered a huge outrage nationwide.

It is important to remember that VinayakDamodarSavarkar, one of the ideological gurus of the ruling dispensation, had once justified rape as a legitimate weapon that could deter Muslims from doing the same to Hindu women.

It is also not a coincidence that calls for the murder of Muslims and rape of Muslim women have been given by so-called Hindu religious leaders in recent months. It is a clear message to Muslims to not expect justice, the signal to BJP’s supporters is that they are immune from punishment for any crime.

That in fact, any allegations that a Hindu has committed a crime against a Muslim must be a conspiracy irrespective of the evidence available.

It is also not a coincidence that calls for the murder of Muslims and rape of Muslim women have been given by so-called Hindu religious leaders in recent months. Instead of punishing them, Indian authorities have targeted those who exposed this hate speech, such as fact-checker Mohammad Zubair, who was arrested on spurious grounds.

The implications for India’s 200 million Muslims are even direr: Justice, even if secured as an exception, can be undone at any moment. Even on a day when they, like other Indians, are celebrating.

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