INDIA: In opposition to a recent government decision to release 11 men who had been sentenced to life in prison for gang-raping a Muslim lady during India’s 2002 religious’ riots, hundreds of people have demonstrated in various locations of the country.
Demonstrators in the nation’s capital, New Delhi, yelled slogans and urged the Gujarat government to reverse its decision on Saturday. Additionally, they sang songs in support of the victim. Numerous other states also saw similar protests.
Flaw in India’s judicial system?
The 11 men were found guilty of rape, murder, and unlawful assembly in 2008 and were given suspended sentences on August 15 as India celebrated its 75th anniversary of independence.
The victim, who is now in her 40s, recently claimed that the Gujarat state government’s choice had left her feeling numb and undermined her confidence in justice.
The victim was gang raped while pregnant in Gujarat during communal unrest in 2002, which resulted in over 1,000 deaths, predominantly of Muslims, in some of the worst religious disturbances India has seen since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. The violence also resulted in the deaths of seven members of the woman’s family, including her three-year-old daughter.
Kavita Krishnan, a well-known activist, remarked that “the entire country should demand an answer directly from the prime minister of this country.”
The inmates’ request for remission was approved, according to officials in Gujarat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in power, because they had served more than 14 years in prison.
According to officials, the men qualified for remission under a 1992 regulation that was in place at the time of their sentencing.
Remission release for people convicted of certain crimes, including rape and murder, is prohibited under a newer version of the policy that the federal government enacted in 2014.
The Prime Minister, who was Gujarat’s highest elected official at the time, has long been plagued by the riots amid claims that the government permitted and even encouraged the killing. The Supreme Court stated there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against Modi despite his repeated denials of any involvement.
A young protester in New Delhi named Asiya Qureshi claimed she took part in the demonstrations to demand justice for the victim.
“They released the rapists the same day Modi gave a speech on the safety and protection of women in India,” she claimed. “How do I stay safe in such a setting?”