Getting justice after 17 years, Bilkis Bano to create fund for rape victims with compensation money

New Delhi: Bilkis Bano said on Wednesday that she wants to use a portion of the compensation money to create a fund to help other women who are victims of rape and communal violence. On Tuesday Supreme Court asked the Gujarat government to provide Gangrape victim of 2002 Gujarat riots with Rs 50 lakh compensation.

Indian Express quoted Bilkis as saying, “I want to give the money I have received from the Supreme Court to help in the battles of other sisters like me who have been victims and for the education of their children.” The fund will be named after Saleha, her three-year-old daughter who was killed by the mob which gang-raped her. The mob had also killed six other members of her family during the 2002 riots.

Directing the Gujarat government to provide the exemplary compensation to Bano and her family within two weeks, the Supreme Court on Tuesday also ordered the state government to provide her with a government job and accommodation of her choice.

Recalling the tragic incident, Bilkis told reporters in Delhi, “We never got back Saleha’s body, we couldn’t even bury her and perform her final rites, and for that I am filled with sorrow till this day. Her spirit is still wandering and I want for her to be at peace. Perhaps this judgment will help bring some kind of peace.”

Maintaining that the Supreme Court’s direction was significant for her because it acknowledged what she had been through, Bilkis said “the court has accepted the sadness that I have had to bear, and the suffering that I’ve gone through. That this has been recognised is a big thing for me… I have had a very long struggle of 17 years but I have always believed that I would get justice. I had belief in the Constitution and the legal system.”

Her another daughter Hajra is 16-years-old now. Bilkis was five-months pregnant with her when she was attacked and raped. Hajra has to be a lawyer.