The Shiv Sena questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s silence on the release of 11 prisoners in the Bilkis Bano case on Sunday, and also wondered if felicitating rapists constituted “Hindu culture,” news agency PTI reported.
The remarks were published in the Rokhthok column of the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, which bore the byline ‘Kadaknath Mumbaikar,’ rather than the executive editor of the Marathi daily, Sanjay Raut, who is presently in jail on money laundering allegations.
Bilkis Bano was five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that erupted following the destruction of the Godhra train in 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was one of the seven people killed.
On August 15, the 11 men convicted in the crime walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the Gujarat government granted them freedom under its remission policy. They had served more than 15 years in prison.
According to some sources, they were greeted by local authorities upon their release.
According to NCP president Sharad Pawar’s editorial in Saamana, PM Modi does not practise what he preaches.
“The Bilkis case has proven him right,” the editorial was quoted by PTI in its report.
The prisoners’ release is shocking given that PM Modi spoke about women’s empowerment in his Independence Day address, according to the Marathi daily.
Why are Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah being silent on this issue? It inquired.
“Is felicitating rapists Hindu culture?” the Sena sought to know.
“Just because Bilkis Bano is a Muslim, the crime against her cannot be forgiven,” it said.
“It is not a Hindu-Muslim issue, but a matter of the soul of Hindutva and prestige of our great culture,” the Sena said.
“When the PM visits Gujarat, he should visit her (Bilkis Bano) and extended his support,” it said.
Several organisations around the country have condemned the Gujarat government’s release of the 11 prisoners in the Bilkis Bano case.
(With Inputs From PTI)