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Bilkis case: When those who greet criminals with garlands are exonerated of crime

By Vikas Parasram Meshram 

While ruling on Bilkis Bano's plea against the amnesty granted to the gang rape and murder perpetrators, the Supreme Court categorically termed the amnesty granted to the 11 criminals as fraudulent and termed the Gujarat government's act as an attempt to encroach on justice. 
According to the Supreme Court's decision, even if the eleven rape and murder accused get some leniency in their sentences, it will come under the purview of the Maharashtra government and not the Gujarat government, where the court handed down the sentences.
Notably, the convict, serving a life sentence, was found guilty of 'inhumane crimes' in the 2002 Gujarat riots. In the background of the court's decision, these criminals are now likely to try to get relief from their punishment from the Maharashtra government.
It is also known that a year and a half ago, the Gujarat government used its powers to free these criminals from their punishment, when these accused were released from jail, and were welcomed publicly by garlanding them; not only that, organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad hailed them as heroes. 
The mindset of honoring those who gang-raped a pregnant woman and killed seven members of her family, including Bilkis' 3-year-old daughter, is questionable in our society today.
The court has done its job, such examples of rule of law will be seen in the future. Bilkis Bano, who is fighting for justice, has also received support in the country. It is expected that similar help will continue to be given to the victims in the future as well. But it begs the question how and why the mentality of supporting criminals thrives in a society that believes in the rule of law. 
When these eleven criminals came out of jail a year and a half ago, why should those who greeted them with garlands not realize that they are terrible criminals? They cannot be exonerated from the charge of criminal mentality. There is a need today to raise voice against this mindset. 
Gang rape is considered a 'crime against humanity' under international law. In any civilized society such crime should be punished. At the same time, criminals are also the ones who support and glorify such crimes, which is terrible for a civilized society.
A few months ago, a heinous act was witnessed in Manipur. There, women were stripped naked and taken out on the streets and molested, and a section of the society watched as spectators. It is true that this behavior is no less than the crime of rape. It is not known when those unfortunate women of Manipur will get justice. But it begs the question why there is no discussion of punishing the criminals who give silent support to such crimes.
Who are they who welcomed Bilkis Bano and her family's abusers after they came out of jail? These eleven men were released from prison without acquittal, exempted from punishment under the pretext of 'good behaviour', so they got out. It is true that there is a provision for this leniency in our country, but isn't it also true that there are some crimes for which such leniency in punishment should not be allowed? 
Rape is a heinous crime, gang rape is a bigger crime and murder after rape is a bigger crime! Prudence demands that if such offenders are granted any exemption during their jail term in the name of 'good behaviour', it should be enquired.
Whether they are abusing women on Manipur streets or saluting the perpetrators of rape and murder, these people tarnish humanity
The question is also that if the criminal does not express remorse for his actions, if he does not feel that he has committed a crime and not a mistake, how can his behaviour be placed in the category of good behaviour? Isn't it a reality that women like Bilkis Bano have to live under the constant shadow of terror? 
Are they under constant pressure to withdraw complaints? The fact is, in the last year and a half, since these criminals came out of jail with rewards for their so-called good behavior, Bilkis Bano has not been able to sleep peacefully?
Now after the decision of the Supreme Court, Bilkis Bano has said through her lawyer that it is as if a big mountain has been lifted from her chest. For the first time in a year and a half, she shed tears of joy as she hugged her children. It is no less important for Bilkis to say, 'I am grateful to the Supreme Court for giving me, my children and all women the right to equal justice.' 
Bilkis Bano also expressed her gratitude to hundreds of people like her. who stood by him in court battles. She is also indebted to the crores of people of the country whose sympathy she has received. There are people in our country who take pride in standing up against injustice. But what about those who take pride in doing injustice or supporting injustice?
Supporting criminals should be a matter of shame. Such shame defines a civilized society. Whether they are abusing women on the streets of Manipur or saluting the perpetrators of rape and murder, these people tarnish humanity. A sense against crime should be created in the society, for that every possible effort should be made at every level. Not only does law provide punishment, society can also curb criminal elements.



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