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Bilkis Bano case: SC to hear plea against release of convicts today

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New Delhi, Aug 24: The Supreme Court will hear the pleas moved against the release of 11 persons, who were convicted in the case of gang-rape of 2002 Gujarat riots survivor Bilkis Bano and the murder of her seven family members.

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The plea before the apex court was filed by members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, and social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma. Last week, the 11 convicts walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.

The 11 convicts who were granted premature release are Jaswantbhai Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radheshyam Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt, and Ramesh Chandana.

The convicts were released under the Gujarat government's remission policy after they completed more than 15 years in jail. On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano's family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district during the post-Godhra riots.

Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at that time, was gang-raped and seven members of her family were killed. The Supreme Court had in April 2019 directed the Gujarat government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis.

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