The women’s wing of the Trinamool Congress on Tuesday began a 48-hour protest against the release of 11 men convicted of rape and murder in the Bilkis Bano case.

Terming the development as shameful, the protestors said that the release of the convicts was unacceptable.

“The law of the country says that when remission is considered for any prisoner those punished for rape and trafficking are not to be considered,” Trinamool Congress leader Shashi Panja said, according to PTI. “We cannot understand how the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case were released.”

The 11 men had gangraped Bano in a village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002, during the riots in Gujarat. She was 19 and pregnant at the time. Fourteen members of her family were also killed in the violence, including her three-year-old daughter whose head was smashed on the ground by the perpetrators.

On August 15, the convicts were released from a Godhra jail after the Gujarat government approved their application under its remission policy. On the same day, the convicts were greeted with sweets by their relatives after their release. A member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh felicitated them as well.

Their release was based on the recommendation of a panel formed by the Gujarat government under the guidelines of the Supreme Court. Out of the ten members of the panel, five are office bearers in the BJP. Two of them are currently MLAs.

On August 18, Gujarat MLA CK Raulji, who was part of the panel, had said that the convict’s conduct in jail was good. Raulji also said that in cases of communal violence, innocent persons are often targeted. He added that family members of the convicts were “honest”.

On Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress criticised the Centre and the Gujarat government for inaction in the case.

“We are questioning the silence of the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and the Home Minister [Amit Shah] on the issue,” Panja told NDTV. “It is very unfortunate.”

She also questioned the felicitation of the convicts after their release.

“We have seen BJP leaders going and garlanding them, putting tika on them, and then saying that they are very sanskari [cultured],” Panja added. “They have values. So what values are these? What human values are you trying to inculcate or talking about by supporting rapists?”

She added: “You are not only disrespecting women but totally humiliating them. This brute majority is overriding the constitution and the laws of the country. The mahila [women] wing of the Trinamool Congress will shake their conscience.”