The apex court also asked the state government to provide accommodation to Bano. The Gujarat government had offered Rs 5 lakh to Bano but she refused to accept the money.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation and a job to Bilkis Bano who was gang-raped during the 2002 riots. The apex court also asked the state government to provide accommodation to Bano. The Gujarat government had offered Rs 5 lakh to Bano but she refused to accept the money. She approached the highest court seeking exemplary compensation from the state government.
In March this year, the apex court had asked the government to take disciplinary action against all the erring police officials within two weeks. The order came after Bano’s lawyer Shobha Gupta informed SC that no action had been taken by the state against the officials convicted by the high court.
Today, the state government informed the highest court that pension benefits of those erring officials have been stopped and the convicted IPS officer has been demoted by two ranks.
Who is Bilkis Bano?
Bilkis had to flee her village with her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Saleha and 15 other family members after mobs went on a rampage following the Sabarmati Express fire in Godhra. The mobs attacked her hometown and set houses on fire. Bilkis and her family reached Chapparwad village and took shelter in a field near Pannivella village. The Indian Express citing charge sheet reports that about 20-30 people armed with sickles and swords attacked Bilkis and her family.
Bilkis and four women were raped and brutally assaulted. Only three out of 17 from Radhikpur village survived the attack. Bilkis remained unconscious for at least three hours after the incident. After regaining consciousness, Bano met a home guard who took her to the Limkheda police station where she registered a complaint with head constable Somabhai Gori. However, the CBI later found that Gori ‘suppressed material facts’ and wrote a distorted version of her complaint. Bano’s case went to the Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court which ordered a CBI probe.
What is the Bilkis Bano case?
Bilkis Bano and her family were attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad in the aftermath of the Godhra riots on March 3, 2002. Five months pregnant at that time, Bilkis was gang-raped and seven members of her family killed during the riots.
Six years later in 2008, a special court convicted 11 men and sentenced them to life imprisonment for raping Bano and murdering her family members. The court, however, acquitted seven persons including the policemen and doctors in the case.
In 2017, the High Court convicted seven people — five policemen and two doctors — for not performing their duties and tampering of evidence. The apex court had rejected the appeals of two doctors and four policemen who challenged their conviction by the High Court. It said that there was “clear-cut evidence” against them.