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Demonstration in Mumbai condemning release of murderers of family of Bilkis Bano

By Harsh Thakor 

A militant demonstration was held at Dadar Railway Station (East) on August 23rd, besides Hanuman Mandir, Dadar (East), Mumbai, attended by over 300 activists which is mainly consisted of women. It was organised by All India Women’s Democratic Association, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Indian Christians For Democracy, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, National Solidarity Forum, Police Reform Watch, Vinayak Foundation, Shoshit Jan Andolan, Pani Haq Samiti. Communist Party of India and CITU activists too waved their banners. 
A most qualitative protest in projecting how the iron feet of neo-fascism of Hindu variety have penetrated the judicial system and how the social order patronises crimes against the Muslim community. They recounted instances of how secular democrats were framed within prison walls. Cosmpolitan and traditionally secular spirit of Mumbai sprinkled. Rage of the protestors was reminiscent of coal fire burning, with wrath written on their faces. Heartening to witness participation from activists from various streams of the democratic movement and from various spheres of society. Such protests knit the seeds of resistance to cut the tumours of Hindu fascism.
It grossly condemned the release of 11 convicts who murdered 13 family members of Bilkis Bano which includes her 3 years old daughter and was collectively raped by all the 11 convicts. After valiantly waging a crusade for years and combating threats she finally got justice. The 11. convicts were awarded life imprisonment. On 15-08-2022 they were released on grounds of good behaviour and belonging to Brahmin caste. The right wing organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) played the role of conspirators, in shaping this development. As Bilkis Bano said "How can justices for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. 
The release of these convicts has robbed me of my peace and shattered my faith in justice. My sorrows and my wavering faith are not for myself alone but for every women who is waging a struggle for justice in courts.Slogans like ‘Justice for Bilkis Bano', ‘Justice delay is justice denied’, ‘Solidarity with Bilkis Bano’s struggle’ , ‘For justice rearrest the 11 convicts and put them to prison' ‘Activists fighting for people’s rights are in prison’, ‘Rapists and murderers are being freed’, ‘Jai Bhim Lal Salaam’, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ were vociferously shouted. Speakers summarised how Hindutva neo fascism has penetrated the social system at an unprecedented scale, with the very fabric of the constitution torn apart.
Heartening to witness participation from activists from various streams of the democratic movement and from various spheres of society. Such protests knit the seeds of resistance to cut the tumours of Hindu fascism.
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Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who covers mass movements in India

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