‘Define good behaviour,’ Mahua Moitra asks Modi, Amit Shah on release of Bilkis Bano convicts
The Trinamool Congress leader is one of the petitioners who has challenged the remission of life-term sentences of the 11 men.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to define “good behaviour”, which the Centre has taken into consideration to approve the release of 11 life-term convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.
Moitra, a Lok Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress, is one of the petitioners who has challenged the remission in the Supreme Court.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Gujarat had told the top court in an affidavit on October 17 that the Union home ministry had approved the remission of the life-term sentences of the convicts as they had been in jail for 14 years and their behaviour was found to be good.
On Wednesday, Moitra tweeted: “Asking Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and Pralhad Joshi to define ‘good behaviour’”.
She also pointed out that one of the convicts, Mitesh Bhatt, had been booked for molesting a woman while out on parole in 2020.
Moitra’s comments come a day after Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi defended the Centre’s approval to release 11 men convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the Bilkis Bano case, reported NDTV.
“I don’t find anything wrong in it as it is done as a process of the law,” Joshi told the news channel amid outrage.
On August 15, the 11 men sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case 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 had felicitated them as well.
Bilkis Bano was gangraped on March 3, 2002, during the riots in Gujarat. She was 19 and pregnant at the time. Fourteen members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, were murdered by the rioters near Ahmedabad.
One of the men snatched the girl from her mother’s arms and smashed her head on a rock. At the time Modi was the chief minister of the state.
According to government records, two of the convicts in the case – Ramesh Chandana and Mitesh Bhatt – had been booked them while they were serving their sentences, reported The Indian Express.
In 2020, a case was registered against Bhatt while he was out on parole for allegedly assaulting a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty, reported Live Law.