Mumbai(PTI): The Shiv Sena on Sunday questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case and also asked if felicitation of rapists was “Hindu culture”.
The comments were made in Rokhthok column of the Sena mouthpiece Saamana which carried the ‘Kadaknath Mumbaikar’ byline and not of the Marathi daily’s executive editor Sanjay Raut, who is currently in jail on money laundering charges.
Bilkis Bano was five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots which broke out after the Godhra train burning in 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven killed.
The 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.
Some reports had claimed that they were felicitated by local leaders upon release.
The column in Saamana said NCP president Sharad Pawar says PM Modi does not practice what he preaches.
“The Bilkis case has proven him right,” it said.
It is surprising that the convicts were released when PM Modi spoke of women empowerment in his Independence Day speech, the Marathi publication said.
Why are PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah quiet on this issue? it asked.
“Is felicitating rapists Hindu culture?” the Sena sought to know. Just because Bilkis Bano is a Muslim, the crime against her cannot be forgiven, it said.
“It is not a Hindu-Muslim issue, but a matter of the soul of Hindutva and prestige of our great culture,” the Sena said.
“When the PM visits Gujarat, he should visit her (Bilkis Bano) and extended his support,” it said.
Several organisations across the country have protested against the release of the 11 convicts by the Gujarat government in the Bilkis Bano case.
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Jaipur, Sep 17: Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday suggested there is a need to rethink the collegium system to expedite the process of appointment in higher judiciary as there are concerns about the existing process.
He said appointments in higher judiciary are “pending”, but “not due to Law Minister but due to the system”.

“There is a need to think about the collegium system so that appointments in higher judiciary can be accelerated,” he said, speaking as the chief guest at the inauguration of two-day Union of India Counsel (West Zone) Conference on ‘Emerging Legal Issues-2022’ at Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Later when reporters asked him about his remarks, he said, “The system which is in place is causing trouble and everyone knows it. Further discussion will be held about what and how it has to be done. I have put my views in front of everyone where judges, law officers and invitees were there.”

Supreme Court judge Justice Ajay Rastogi, Rajasthan High Court acting Chief Justice MM Srivastava, Gujarat HC Chief Justice Arvind Kumar and Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta also expressed their views in the inaugural session of the workshop.

Rijiju said, “If such issues are taken up in such conferences then people present come to know what’s there in the mind of the law minister and what the government is thinking. I have expressed my views and I have also listened to their views.”

He said he raised the issue in Udaipur as several “appointments in Rajasthan High Court have to be done and they are pending”.

“The appointments are pending not due to the law minister but due to the system and that’s why I have put forth (my views) in front of you,” he said.

He also said additional solicitor generals would be appointed in all high courts so that the Government of India could be effectively represented.

He said courts in the country are being digitised which would help people get information about their cases.

He also said the government is taking effective steps to improve infrastructure at high courts and lower courts.

He also said the government is working towards setting up a law academy.

He said 4.85 crore cases are pending in the country and the justice system needs to work effectively to address this pendency.

Speaking as a special guest, Union Minister of State for Law and Justice SP Baghel said there will be ideological brainstorming at this conference, from which concrete decision will emerge on strengthening democracy and its institutions.

The even opened with a special message from Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bengaluru: Karnataka on Saturday reported 476 fresh COVID-19 cases and one death, taking the total infections and fatalities to 40,61,157 and 40,232 respectively, the State Health Department said.
 
Taipei: A 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Taiwan on Saturday evening. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
 
Udupi: Two artists from Brahmavar and Sastan in Udupi district have designed a 12-feet long rangoli portrait dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 72nd birthday on Saturday.
 
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