The Bilkis Judgement

The judgement of the supreme Court on the famous Bilkis Banu episode must come as a pleasant surprise and a welcome relief to all those who are scared of the monster of Hindu fanaticism that has been stalking the country. On 3 March 2002, Bilkis, a resident of Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad, was attacked and gang-raped by a mob in the aftermath of the Godhra incident. Seventeen persons of her extended family including her three-year-old daughter, were brutally killed and Bilkis, after being gang-raped, was beaten up severely. Thinking her dead, the hooligans left her on the spot. She, however, did not die and after recovery, resolved to fight a legal battle in the face of tremendous odds. The Gujarat police and administration, as per the report of her lawyer, tried every means at their disposal to deny her justice, and the social activists who came to her help were harassed in various ways. Bilkis, along with her husband, had to shift their residence many times in order to escape the threats to their lives. Yet she did not yield, boldly refused the crumb offered by the Government of Gujarat and finally received justice in the form of a compensation of Rs 50 lakh and some punishment for the police officers who reportedly botched up the investigation of the case.

It is clear to everybody except some dishonest diehards that the Gujarat Carnage was not just a reaction to the Godhra incident, but a well-planned and meticulously organised massacre of Muslims; otherwise the bestial attack on Bilkis Bano and many other similar incidents cannot be explained. It is also clear that the carnage was organised with the help of the police and the administration. It often happens, not only in Gujarat but elsewhere, that criminals often get away with impunity because the police help them owing to political pressure. It is also not a rare occurrence that judges are prone to give unreasonable judgements. The present judgement of the Supreme Court hence should be taken as an honourable exception and those who have helped Bilkis Bano in her protracted struggle deserve the warmest thanks.

Vol. 51, No. 45, May 12 - 18, 2019