All victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots should get justice, Congress and human rights activists said on Thursday, welcoming the judgement of the Bombay High Court in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case.
Apart from upholding the conviction of 12 people sentenced by the lower court, the HC set aside the acquittal of five policemen, activist Teesta Setalvad noted. She has been fighting the case for the victims of post-Godhra communal violence through her organisation Citizen for Justice and Peace.
Setalvad lauded the court for dismissing the death penalty to three convicts saying she never supported the CBI’s plea.
“We had in any case argued against death penalty. The fact that the court has upheld the conviction and also convicted five policemen is a welcome judgement,” the activist said.
All victims should get justice, the Gujarat Congress said.
Congress’ national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said, “We had always demanded that the victims should get justice. And justice should be done. We would not like to make any further comment on the judgement of the High Court, but we would say, ‘der aaye. durust aaye’ (better late than never).”
However, Gujarat cabinet minister and BJP leader Rajendra Trivedi refused to comment on the development. He has been in the past involved in legal proceedings related to several riots cases as a practising lawyer.
“I was not involved in the case, so I cannot comment on this,” Trivedi said.
Bilkis, who was five months pregnant, was gang-raped and seven of her family member were killed. While the other six escaped.