Over 3500 citizens stand with Bilkis Bano in her quest for justice


  • May 8, 2023
  • (0 Comments)
  • 528 Views

Over 3500 women and concerned citizens of India stand with Bilkis Bano in her continuing quest for justice.

 

In an open letter to the Supreme Court of India, the signatories express alarm at the delays in the hearing as reported in the media. “If the Supreme Court is not allowed to hear such a matter, where should an aggrieved woman in this country go?” they ask.

 

The signatories emphasized that Bilkis’ long journey to  justice is at a crucial juncture. They appealed to the Supreme Court of India to listen without further delay to a woman and a survivor who has kept faith in the justice system for 20 long years.

 

The signatories reaffirmed their solidarity with Bilkis Bano and with every victim of sexual assault who has the courage to stand up for justice today.

 

The full text of the statement and complete list of signatories is below.

 

TEXT OF STATEMENT

 

OPEN LETTER TO THE SUPREME COURT ON THE BILKIS BANO CASE

 

“It’s obvious that they don’t want us to hear the matter… that is more than obvious” – Justice K.M. Joseph while hearing Bilkis Bano’s Petition in the Supreme Court, May 2, 2023

 

CONCERNED CITIZENS AND WOMEN OF INDIA STAND WITH BILKIS BANO IN HER QUEST FOR JUSTICE.

 

SEEK IMMEDIATE HEARING OF HER APPEAL AGAINST EARLY RELEASE OF 11 CONVICTS.

 

ASK “IF THE SUPREME COURT IS NOT ALLOWED TO HEAR SUCH A MATTER, WHERE SHOULD AN AGGRIEVED WOMAN IN THIS COUNTRY GO?”

 

Convicts in Bilkis Bano case being felicitated after their premature release from prison.

 

Nearly a year ago, on August 15, 2022 as the nation woke to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its independence, 11 convicted gang-rapists and murderers who had destroyed Bilkis Bano’s life – raped her, left her for dead, murdered her family and her 3 year old daughter before her eyes – walked free; men convicted of unspeakable acts of bestiality and terror against women and infants, were gifted an early release.

 

After two days of stunned silence, Bilkis found her voice, and on August 17, 2022 she wrote an anguished letter to the world asking how justice for any woman could end like this? She wrote that she was numb. She said her faith in justice was shaken. She wrote that her sorrow and her wavering faith was not for herself alone but for every woman struggling for justice in courts.

 

In this moment of devastation, when all seemed lost, thousands of ordinary citizens and women of India, came forward to rescue the idea of justice for women in India. They stood like rocks with Bilkis. 6000 citizens wrote an appeal to the Supreme Court of India on August 18, 2022, urging it to take suo moto cognizance, revoke this immoral and unconscionable remission order, restore their faith, and restore justice to Bilkis Bano. 8,500 people from Mumbai wrote to the Supreme Court of India expressing their horror at such impunity being granted to rapists and murderers. 10,000 citizens wrote an Open Letter to the then Honorable Chief Justice of India, on August 23, 2022, appealing to him to act. 40,000 citizens from 29 districts of Karnataka also wrote to the then Honourable Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2022, to undo this grave miscarriage of justice.

 

This unprecedented outpouring of support held Bilkis. It gave her the courage and strength to stand up, walk, and knock once again, as she had done so many times before, on the doors of justice. So, Bilkis Bano approached the Supreme Court, once again. She kept her faith, once again. She has waited, once again.

 

Today we, citizens of this country, are watching with increasing alarm the blatant attempt being made to try and subvert justice in the highest court of the land. We see with distress how delaying tactics and procedural subterfuge are being deployed to try and stall and derail court proceedings. And we see Bilkis Bano still waiting, still hopeful, and still not being heard. On May 2, 2023, Justice K M Joseph who, along with Justice B V Nagarathna, is hearing the matter, said in open court – “It is obvious that they don’t want us to hear the matter… that is more than obvious.”

 

At this crucial juncture in Bilkis’ long journey to justice, we appeal to the Supreme Court of India to hear Bilkis Bano’s plea without further delay. If the Supreme Court is not allowed to hear a matter, then where should an aggrieved woman in this country go?

 

We appeal to the Supreme Court to listen to a woman who has kept her faith with the justice system for 20 long years. Let that faith not stand betrayed. August 15, 2023, is not far away. It will be one year too long of grave injustice to Bilkis and to every rape survivor in this country. Let us truly celebrate faith this coming Independence Day; faith that the idea of justice is still alive for women in this country.

 

Pdf copy of the statement along with signatories is given below.

 

OPEN LETTER TO THE SUPREME COURT ON THE BILKIS BANO CASE
Share this
Leave a Comment