By Pervez Bari
New Delhi: The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order to Gujarat Government to pay Rs. 50 lakh as compensation to Bilkis Bano, who was raped 22 times during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
SDPI national general secretary Muhammad Shafi in a statement said that after 17 long years of mental disorder and pain to Bilkis Bano, the Supreme Court has given the verdict which is a slap on communal terror. Gujarat Govt. had failed or given free hand for violence in the state. Law applies to all. Nobody can be allowed to harm other communities living in the state. It was the responsibility of the state to protect the people. The then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be held responsible for such grave violence under his regime.
Shafi said that Bilkis Bano deserves ovation from all the people of India for having fought her case through with the power that is. It was Mr. Modi under whose tenure as chief minister this had happened 21 years ago when Bilkis Bano, who was pregnant then, was gang-raped by police officials and others and 7 of her family members were killed. How difficult it must have been for her to fight the case virtually against the mightiest and most notorious regime when Mr. Modi was the CM of Gujarat and now he is the Prime Minister of India.
He questioned will Mr. Modi take the responsibility for what had happened in Gujarat in 2002 that he managed so far so well but there are people who are fighting and it shows the constitutional rights of an individual. However, this case of compensation, service, and the house is what will encourage the victims and deter the establishment that they enjoy immunity.
He said hats off to Bilkis Bano fought for justice all 17 years with grit and determination and ultimately the truth prevailed. This is possible only and only if the judiciary is independent. “We as a citizen of India must endeavor to maintain the independence of the judiciary”, he added.
However, Shafi said that compensation for Bilkis Bano is too less. She should have been awarded a compensation of Rs. 100 crores to be taken from BJP’s party fund or to be recovered from the officers punished for dereliction of duty. He said that since it was confirmed rape took place in the case; the officers concerned should have been castrated and denied pension without such abnormal delay.
By Pervez Bari