Police Confirm Bilkis Bano Convicts Under Watch, Dispel ‘Missing’ Reports

Police Confirm Bilkis Bano Convicts Under Watch, Dispel 'Missing' Reports

The 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case were dealt a blow on January 8 when the Supreme Court overturned the remission previously granted to them. The court ordered the convicts to surrender within a two-week timeframe.

According to a senior official from the Gujarat Police, the 11 men found guilty in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case, who are currently on remission, are being closely monitored and have not gone missing. The Police are keeping an eye on them.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Police Bishakha Jain, the individuals in question have been closely monitored by the police since the Supreme Court’s decision (on January 8) to overturn the remission granted by the Gujarat government. Jain stated that on the very same day, they reached out to each of them and found no indication that they planned to avoid communication following the verdict.

On January 8th, the Supreme Court delivered a consequential verdict, led by justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan, rescinding the remission previously granted to the 11 convicts in the case. They have been given a two-week window to surrender. This ruling has significant implications for the case and its convicts.

The bench found that Gujarat had unlawfully taken over the authority of Maharashtra, where the initial trial for the convicts was conducted, in order to grant remission. Additionally, they overturned a previous judgement from 2022 by a different bench of the Supreme Court, which had instructed Gujarat to review the remission requests of the 11 convicts. This ruling was deemed a result of “deception” on the part of the court.

Various media outlets had previously stated that many of the convicts were unaccounted for and their families were unaware of their locations. However, on Friday, Jain dismissed these allegations and insisted that the convicts were aware that they were supposed to surrender. He further stated that they willingly went to the police station after the Supreme Court’s ruling on January 8, according to a report by PTI.

“The IPS officer emphasized that the individuals were well aware of the need to surrender and willingly arrived at the police station following the SC’s January 8 ruling. He also clarified that their absence was not due to them disappearing or going missing.”

The convicted individuals are from Singvad and Randhikpur villages in Singvad taluka of Dahod. As the deadline approached, they turned to the Supreme Court to request an extension for their surrender, citing important familial duties, elderly care, winter crop harvesting, and health concerns.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied the requests of the 11 convicts in the case for an extension of time to surrender. Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan stated that the court had already granted them two weeks to prepare. “We have already given you ample time to get your affairs in order,” they said. The court also noted that the reasons given by the convicts for postponing their surrender were not valid, as they did not hinder their ability to comply with the court’s directive given on January 8.