PRESS RELEASE. New Delhi, May 8, 2017
‘I WANT JUSTICE, NOT REVENGE’
‘I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO GROW UP IN A SAFE INDIA’
– said Bilkis Bano, at a crowded Press Conference in Delhi today
‘My faith in the constitution and in the idea of justice has been upheld and for that I am truly grateful to the honorable Judges,’ said Bilkis Bano. Speaking about her 15 year long journey to justice, she said, ‘It had been filled with fear, constantly shifting homes, trying to protect my children, each time the accused were given parole.’She said that it was the State’s duty to protect her and her family, and she was happy the Police had finally been convicted.
On the death penalty, she said she refused to compare tragedies. ‘I want justice, not revenge. Yes the horrors I suffered deserve the maximum punishment, but at the same time, I do not want any one else to die in my name,’ said Bilkis, with her husband Yakub solidly by her side.
Also with her was Human Rights Lawyer Vijay Hiremath, who represented Bilkis in the appeal in Mumbai, and who read startling sections of the judgment that indicted the Gujarat Police:
“They tried to gag the mouth of the prosecutrix.”
“Her evidence emerged before us like a collage which we find completely trustworthy.”
“The investigation was not only unsatisfactory but it smacked of dishonest steps to screen the culprits. This itself is the most incriminating circumstance against the accused. [The] earlier investigation has played the role of villain in this case.”
“The omissions on the part of the police accused are so grave and so obvious that their malafides and intentions are very apparent.”
“The investigation is not only faulty but it is downright tainted.”
Excerpts from the Judgment on the Bilkis Bano Case delivered on May 4, 2017 by the Bombay High Court.
This shocking indictment of the Gujarat Police by the Bombay High Court, was one of the biggest victories of this case, according to Dr. N.C. Saxena, senior retd civil servant, who called it a historic moment of justice for communal crimes in India. Also present to support Bilkis was Shonali Bose, National Award winning film director, who said the verdict clearly exposed state complicity in violence against its own citizens. Prominent women’s rights activist, Kavita Srivastava said what sexual violence survivors needed was swift and certain justice with full State support to make it through their struggle. Referring to “the current environment of hate and violence against Muslim minorities” she said it was tragic that after all this time, Bilkis and her family still do not live a country free from fear and hatred.
The press conference was organized collectively by many concerned citizens of India, including Farah Naqvi (Delhi), Madhavi Kuckreja (Lucknow), GaganSethi (Gujarat), Malini Ghose, Huma Khan, and Dipta Bhog. For more information: 9811105521, 09984616000, 9891400302