New Delhi: The release of 12 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case has evoked a lot of reactions. This decision of the Gujarat government is being criticized a lot. Meanwhile, during a recent conversation with NDTV, actress Shabana Azmi burst in tears talking about it.
She even said that release of the culprits of a such heinous crime and then welcoming them with flowers is very ‘shameful.’
Shabana Azmi said, “I have no words (for Bilkis Bano) except that I am deeply ashamed. I have no other words.”
“This woman has had such a huge tragedy. And yet she didn’t lose courage. She fought all the way. She got these people convicted and, like her husband says, just when she’s about to bring her life together, this great travesty of justice happens,” added the veteran actress.
Further, she said, “Should we not fight for her? Shouldn’t we be shouting from the rooftops so that justice is done to this person? And the women who are feeling unsafe in this country, women who face the threat of rape every day – shouldn’t they get some sense of security? What do I answer my children, my grandchildren? What can I say to Bilkis? I am ashamed.”
“I just expected there would be an outpouring of outrage. I waited two days, three days…There was such little visibility in the media.”
She added, “I was just stunned that this could happen. Even now I think there is not enough understanding of the injustice and horror of what has happened…These convicts are released and they are felicitated and laddoos are being distributed – what is the signal we are giving to society? What is the signal we are giving to women? We have a government that professes Nari Shakti on the very same day. And we are helplessly sitting around…”
On the Centre claiming it had no role, She even questioned how the Gujarat government could take such a big step without a go-ahead from Delhi. “Why is the National Commission for Women completely silent? Why is the National Human Rights Commission completely silent? Why are the women in the BJP completely silent? Those who are otherwise very vocal women? Is this a question of party lines? Have we lost all humanity? I just wonder where we are moving as a society,” Azmi concluded.
A five-month pregnant Bilkis was gang-raped during the 2002 Gujarat riots and several members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, were killed.
Protests have been taking place since the August 15 release, mostly led by Left parties and groups on campuses of educational institutions and other areas of their influence.