New Delhi: Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a letter urging him to get paroles of rape convict godman Ram Rahim and the remission of accused in the Bilkis Bano rape case.
Self-proclaimed godman Ram Rahim was convicted for rape, murder in 2017 and has been out on parole since October 14, 2022; the Haryana government granted the Dera Sacha Sauda chief a 40-day parole from Sunaria jail.
The Gujarat government released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape case a day after India’s independence day.
Swati Maliwal’s letter
The DCW chief in her letter wrote, “These incidents are deeply disturbing and reflect the connivance of highly placed politicians with influential convicts. The politicians continue to use rapists to further their vote bank politics, especially when elections are round the corner, which happen to be the case in both Gujarat and Haryana.”
She added that if influential people enjoying political clout seek benefits while srving life sentence for henious crimes against women and children, “justice is clearly denied and any steps of the Government for ensuring safety of women and children are rendered devoid of any merit”.
She also mentioned, “Clearly, the existing rules and policies vis a vis remission, parole and even furlough in the country are extremely weak and can be easily manipulated by politicians and convicts for their own benefit. Therefore, to avoid any further misuse of the laws and policies, there is an urgent need to review them and make them more stringent so that justice is served.”
Maliwal further wrote, “In view of the above, your Hon’ble self is kindly requested to give instructions for the following:
a. Take up the matter of the premature release of Bilkis Bano’s rapists with the Gujarat Government and Ministry of Home affairs, GOI so that the rapists are made to serve their complete jail term.
b. Take up the matter of the parole of Gurmeet Ram Rahim with the Haryana Government so that his parole is cancelled immediately.
c. Ensure strict action against senior functionaries of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Government who have attended the Sabhas of rapist and murderer Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
d. Set up a High Level Committee to ensure stringent laws and policies regarding remission, parole and furlough for convicts serving sentences in serious crimes against women and children. The sentence of convicts in cases of crimes against women and children should not be reduced under any circumstances!”
About Ram Rahim Case
Ram Rahim has been in Haryana’s Sunaria jail since 2017 where he is serving a 20-year-term for raping two women disciples at his ashram’s headquarters in Sirsa. Earlier, in Febrary, he was granted two weeks parole.
He was convicted by a special CBI court in Panchkula in August 2017 and on October 8, 2021, the court convicted Rahim and four others in connection with former Dera manager Ranjit Singh’s murder case.
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About Bilkis Bano case
Bilkis Bano was gang raped by 11 men during the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in February 2002.
Bilkis, who was also pregnant at the time, had to witness the horrible murder of her three-year-old daughter as well as the gang rape of her mother, sister, and aunts, who were all among the 14 members of her family who were slain by a mob of 25 men. She only survived because the assailants assumed she was dead.
The 11 men were convicted by a trial court in Mumbai in 2008, and the High Court maintained the order granting them life imprisonment in May 2017.