11 awarded life sentence in Bilkis Bano case

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Mumbai, Jan 21 (UNI) The special CBI court today sentenced eleven persons held guilty in the post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gangrape and massacre case to life imprisonment.

Special court judge U D Salvi, while announcing the quantum of punishment, sentenced a twelfth convict -- a suspended policeman -- to three years rigorous imprisonment.

The court had on January 18 passed its judgement but had deferred pronouncing the quantum of punishment till today.

As many as fourteen members of Bilkis Bano's family were killed by rioteers in Dahod district of Gujarat in the aftermath of the Godhra carnage in 2002.

The women in the family were gangraped. Bilkis Bano, who was six-month pregnant at that time, was also gangraped, but her life was spared.

The Bilkis Bano gangrape and massacre case was the second post-Godhra riot case after Vadodara's Best Bakery to be transferred to Maharashtra from Gujarat. This case was transferred on the directives of the Supreme Court after Bilkis Bano expressed doubts about a free trial in Gujarat.

UNI ST MAZ PK RN1713

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