G. McConway
January 8, 2024

India Supreme Court Cancels Release of Riot Rapists

In August 2022, 11 men were freed in India that had been part of a mob that gang raped a pregnant Muslim woman.

When the men were freed, global outrage ensued over their release and the celebrations that took place.

Their release, however, has since been revoked by the India Supreme Court.

The Incident

The incident took place in Gujarat state in August 2002.

Bilkis Bano was pregnant and attacked by members of a Hindu mob during an anti-Muslim protest.

In addition to the rape, 14 members of Bano’s family were murdered by the mob.

The men were tried and convicted, all given life sentences by the court. However, in August 2022, they were released by order of the Gujarat government.

After the release of the men, Bano petitioned the court to overturn the decision by the government.

The India Supreme Court, which only has two seats and is headed by Justice BV Nagarathna, ruled that the Gujarat government was “not competent” in its ruling.

Justice Nagarathna, in part, ruled, "Justice encompasses not just the rights of the convicts but also the rights of the victims.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister when the attacks took place, and he was heavily criticized at the time for not doing enough, nor has he ever apologized for the rioting.

Adding to the controversy is the fact that Modi’s aide Amit Shah is the one who granted the release of the men. Shah served in the home ministry at the time of the ruling to release the men.

When the men were freed, they received a hero's welcome, which created global outrage, as well as Bano appealing the decision, writing, "How can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma.”

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