Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to express her outrage after a convicted rapist attended a government event in Gujarat, alongside two BJP leaders. The convicted rapist was one of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case, who had been released prematurely on Independence Day 2022, causing a nationwide uproar. Bilkis Bano’s husband Yakub Rasool confirmed the identity of the man seated on stage as Shailesh Bhatt, one of the convicts in the case.
Moitra, criticizing the ruling BJP government, called for the imprisonment of the convicts and urged people to vote out the party that supports such a “travesty of justice”. She shared a picture of the rapist attending the launch of a water supply scheme with Dahod BJP MP Jasvantsinh Bhabhor and his brother,
Limkheda MLA Sailesh Bhabhor.
Bilkis Bano was raped by convicts during the 2002 Gujarat riots when she was five months pregnant. The accused were convicted in 2008 for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven members of her family, including her 3-year-old daughter. Bilkis had filed a petition seeking a review of the decision to release the convicts prematurely, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court in December 2022.
Moitra’s demand for justice for Bilkis Bano and her family has gained support from women’s groups across the country.