The women’s wing of the Trinamool Congress, led by senior ministers in the state government, on Tuesday began a 48-hour dharna against the release of 11 men who were jailed in the gangrape case of Bilkis Bano.
Targeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Trinamool leaders said that the remission of sentences of rape convicts was unacceptable.
“We know BJP in Bengal has not said a word on this. We know the BJP president has not said anything. We are questioning the silence of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on the issue. It is very unfortunate. There is no remission for rapists,” Shashi Panja, Minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, told NDTV.
Today, our women wing leaders started a 48-hour dharna near Gandhi Murti to protest against the horrifying atrocities that were meted out against #BilkisBano. The release of the accused in the case is SHAMEFUL & UNACCEPTABLE.
Our fight for JUSTICE will continue. pic.twitter.com/92yhbjsEtB
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) September 6, 2022
The dharna is taking place at the Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road in Kolkata.
“We have seen BJP leaders going and garlanding them, putting tika on them, and then saying that they are very ‘sanskari’. They have values. So what values are these? What human values are you trying to inculcate or talking about by supporting rapists? You are not only disrespecting women but totally humiliating them. This brute majority is overriding the constitution and the laws of the country. The mahila (Women) Wing of the Trinamool Congress will shake their conscience,” Ms Panja added.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning in 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven killed.
Mahua Moitra, Trinamool MP from Krishnanagar, has moved the Supreme Court against the remission of the sentences of the rape convicts. The top court has agreed to hear Ms Moitra’s challenge to the remission granted to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.
The Trinamool Congress has also questioned Amit Shah on the incident of rape reported from Bongaon in West Bengal where two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were arrested for allegedly gang-raping a 23-year-old woman in front of her five-year-old daughter.
“Men from the Border Security Force who are meant to be guarding the nation have been accused of something like this and again the union home minister continues to be silent on this issue. He is an incompetent home minister and the ‘pappu’ of the country,” Ms Panja further told NDTV.
The pappu jibe, a term BJP spokespersons often use to deride and ridicule Rahul Gandhi, was earlier fired by Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate or ED in Kolkata as part of the coal smuggling probe.
“We have to follow democratic processes and raise our voice against these sorts of incidents. Now, it is for the central government and the BJP government of Gujarat see what they have done. Because this has shaken the country as we have already said. The entire country is shaken by the fact that in the case of these 11 convicts not only has a remission order been passed but it has been done under one order and that is illegal,” Bengal’s Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, who was present at the protest site, said.
With inputs from NDTV