Dahod: A witness in the Bilkis Bano case on Monday hailed the Supreme Court verdict quashing the Gujarat government's decision to grant remission to 11 convicts, saying Bano received "justice today" while some of her relatives burst firecrackers in Devgadh Baria town in Dahod district. "I am one of the witnesses in the case. These 11 convicts were handed the punishment by a Maharashtra court. The Gujarat government's decision to release them was wrong. That is why we challenged it in court.
"I am happy that the SC has quashed the Gujarat government's decision and asked the convicts to surrender. I feel that we have received justice today," Abdul Razaq Mansuri, one of the witnesses in the case currently living in Devgadh Baria town, told reporters.
Some distant relatives of Bilkis Bano are settled in Devgadh Baria. As the news of the Supreme Court's verdict flashed on television screens, some of them burst firecrackers to welcome the decision.
Earlier in the day, the apex court quashed the remission to the 11 men convicted of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and murdering seven of her family members during the 2002 riots and ordered that they be sent back to jail within two weeks.
Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was raped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident in February 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, 2022.