New Delhi: The BJP MLA from Godhra stirred controversies by saying that 11 men, convicted for the rape of Bilkis Bano and released by the Gujarat government after 15-odd years in jail, were ‘Brahmins’ and had ‘good sanskaar’.. Amid the countrywide outrage over the men’s release, CK Raulji has backed the men, who were feted with sweets and garlands after their release.
CK Raulji was one of the two BJP leaders who were part of the Gujarat government panel that unanimously decided to release the rapists. The decision was taken after one of the convicts approached the Supreme Court seeking remission and the matter was passed onto the state government. ‘I don’t know whether they committed any crime or not. But there has to be intention of committing crime’, CK Raulji is heard telling the reporter from Mojo Story. ‘They were Brahmins and Brahmins are known to have good sanskaar. It might have been someone’s ill intention to corner and punish them’, added he MLA in the interview, which is circulating widely on social media. The convicts, he added, had good conduct while in jail.
The rapists walked free on Independence Day, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of women’s empowerment from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Shortly after, videos showing their warm welcome by some right-wing groups emerged. In face of the barrage of criticism, the Gujarat government has defended its decision, saying it considered the release plea as per a 1992 policy, as directed by the Supreme Court, because that was in effect at the time of the conviction in 2008.
They snatched Bilkis 3 yr old daughter & smashed her head to ground, killing her instantly. 3 men from her village grabbed her & tore her clothes, even as she pleaded that she's pregnant. They ignored her entreaties that they were like her brothers & uncles & raped her in turn https://t.co/EcstirofZ1
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) August 16, 2022
The move, made in contravention with the current rules which bars remission for convicts of rape and murder — has appalled many. The opposition parties have been vocal against it. Y Satish Reddy, the social media convenor of Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi had tweeted the video clip, ‘They are Brahmins, Men of Good Sanskaar. Their conduct in jail was ‘good’: BJP MLA #CKRaulji BJP now terms rapists as ‘Men of Good Sanskar’. This is the lowest a party can ever stoop!’ his tweet read.
“They are Brahmins, Men of Good Sanskaar. Their conduct in jail was good": BJP MLA #CKRaulji
— YSR (@ysathishreddy) August 18, 2022
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months’ pregnant when she was gangraped during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Seven members of her family were murdered, among them her three-year-old daughter whose head was bashed with rocks. Seven other relatives, who she says were also killed, were declared ‘missing’. She spent years in hiding, constantly shifting home, till the rapists were jailed. After the release, she has been too shell-shocked to consider the next steps, to take thought of safety or any legal recourse.