Mumbai: On Sunday, the Shiv Sena questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s silence about the release of 11 defendants in the Bilkis Bano case and questioned whether celebrating rapists was part of “Hindu culture.”
The Sena mouthpiece Saamana’s Rokhthok columnist with the byline “Kadaknath Mumbaikar” made the remarks, not the Marathi daily’s executive editor Sanjay Raut, who is presently imprisoned on suspicion of money laundering.
When Bilkis Bano was gang-raped in 2002 while escaping the riots that erupted following the fire of the Godhra train, she was five months pregnant. One of the seven people slain was her three-year-old daughter.
The Gujarat government approved the release of the 11 convicts under its remission policy, and they left the Godhra sub-jail on August 15. They’d spent more than 15 years behind bars.
Upon their release in their hometown, the 11 Bilkis Bano convicts were fecilitated by the local authorities, according to reports.
Sharad Pawar, the president of the NCP, claimed in a column published in Saamana that PM Modi does not follow his own advice.
“The Bilkis case has proven him right,” it said.
The column in the Marathi publication Saamana read, “It is surprising that the convicts were released when PM Modi spoke of women empowerment in his Independence Day speech.”
“Just because Bilkis Bano is a Muslim, the crime against her cannot be forgiven. It is not a Hindu-Muslim issue, but a matter of the soul of Hindutva and prestige of our great culture. When the PM visits Gujarat, he should visit her (Bilkis Bano) and extended his support,” it said.
Further more it asked, “Why are PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah quiet on this issue? Is felicitating rapists Hindu culture?
Several organisations from all over the nation have voiced their opposition to the Gujarat government’s decision to free the 11 defendants in the Bilkis Bano case.

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