Bilkis Bano Case: ‘Rectify the horrendous decision’, 134 ex-bureaucrats to CJI

New Delhi: Over 130 former civil servants on Saturday wrote an open letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to rectify the ‘horrendously wrong decision’ of releasing the 11 rape and murder convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case. 

The convicts were released by the Gujarat government on Independence Day under an outdated remission policy, which turned into a huge political controversy.

The former bureaucrats questioned the Supreme Court’s quick decision and said, “We are puzzled about why the Supreme Court saw the matter as so urgent that a decision had to be taken within two months”.

“Like the overwhelming majority of people in our country, we are aghast at what happened in Gujarat a few days ago, on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence,” the letter said.

“We write to you because we are deeply distressed by this decision of the Government of Gujarat and because we believe that it is only the Supreme Court which has the prime jurisdiction, and hence the responsibility, to rectify this horrendously wrong decision,” wrote the former bureaucrats.

“Bilkis Bano has reportedly changed homes some 20 times over the years because of threats to her life. With the celebrated release of the convicts from jail, the trauma, suffering and vulnerability to harm for Bilkis Bano will be significantly heightened. It is also shocking that five out of the 10 members of the advisory committee, which sanctioned the early release, belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party, while the remaining are ex-officio members,” they wrote.

This raises the important question of impartiality and independence of the decision, and vitiates both the process and its outcome, stated the letter.

Also Read: ‘Part of pattern’: US panel for religious freedom SLAMS release of Bilkis Bano case convicts

“The story of Bilkis Bano is, as you know, a story of immense courage and persistence. A five-month pregnant, then 19-year-old Bilkis fled, along with her family and others, from their village in Dahod district on February 18, 2002, when around 60 Muslim homes were torched; they hid in the fields outside Chhapparwad village where armed men attacked them,

(With agency inputs)