Some of convicts in Bilkis gang-rape and family massacre case are ‘Brahmins with good sanskaar’: Gujarat BJP MLA C K Raulji

News Network
August 19, 2022

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Ahmedabad, Aug 19: Some of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots are “Brahmins” with good ‘sanskaar’ or values and it is possible they may have been fixed due to their past family activities, a BJP MLA, who was a part of the state government panel that recommended remission to all the 11 men found guilty, said on Thursday.

C K Raulji, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Godhra, said he does not know whether the convicts, released after spending more than 15 years in jail, were involved in the crime.

On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano’s gang rape and murder of her seven family members during the communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their release under its remission policy.

“We took the decision on the basis of a Supreme Court order. We were asked to look at their (convicts’) behaviour and decide (on their early release),” Raulji, who was one of the members of the government-appointed committee that recommended granting of remission to the convicts, told a news portal.

“We asked the jailer and learnt that their behaviour was good in the prison…also (some of the convicts) are Brahmins. They have good ‘sanskaar’ (values),” said the ruling party legislator.

The Gujarat government’s decision has invited sharp criticism from the opposition parties who have said the move was against the Centre’s guidelines.

However, Raulji said the convicts may have been fixed.

“It is possible that they (the convicts) might have been fixed in the case due to their past family activities. When such riots take place it happens that those who are not involved are named. But I don’t know if they committed the crime, we decided (on remission) based on their behaviour,” he said.

Asked about the welcome accorded to the 11 men after their release from prison, he said they had not welcomed them.

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts after the Supreme Court directed it to consider their plea for relief under the state’s 1992 remission policy.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment all the 11 accused in the case for murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano, a riots survivor, and her gang rape. Their conviction was later upheld by Bombay High Court.

These convicts served more than 15 years in prison after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.

The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy on the basis of the date of his conviction. Thereafter, the government formed a committee which took the decision to allow release of all the convicts.

On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped and seven members of her family were killed during the BJP backed riots. 

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News Network
October 2,2022

New Delhi, Oct 2: The Maharashtra government on Sunday launched a campaign appealing to people to say “Vande Mataram” while receiving phone calls instead of “Hello”.

“Vande Mataram means we are bowing before our mother. Hence, it is our appeal to the people to say Vande Mataram instead of Hello,” state cultural affairs minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said at a rally held in Wardha district on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

A Government Resolution (GR) issued on Saturday appealed to Maharashtra government employees and officers to greet people by saying “Vande Mataram” instead of “Hello” during official or personal phone calls.

It is not mandatory, but the heads of departments should encourage their staff to do so, the GR said.

It said ‘hello’ is borrowed from Western culture and the word did not have any specific meaning. “The word is just a formality which does not arouse any emotion,” the GR said.

Greeting people by saying “Vande Mataram” will create a feeling of affection, it said, adding that an awareness campaign should be conducted to promote it.

At the event in Wadha on Sunday, Mungantiwar said, “If people want to say ‘Jai Bhim’ or ‘Jai Shri Ram’, or even mention their parents’ names while answering a phone call all forms are ok with us. Our appeal is to avoid saying Hello while receiving a call.”

During the independence movement, a slogan like “Inquilab Zindabad” (long live the revolution) was banned by the British rulers, he said.

“But, it inspired many people to join the (freedom) movement and eventually we got independence. Even Mahatma Gandhi had supported (chanting of) Vande Mataram and he had written so in a column published at that time,” he said.

The proposal was first made by Mngantiwar soon after being sworn in as a minister in August.

Mungantiwar also said the state government will come up with an audiobook on 850 key personalities from Maharashtra who played a major role in the formation of the state.

“Like the audiobook, we will also come up with MaharashtraTel, where stories and information about key personalities and their contribution will be available in audio format. People can listen to it while travelling as well,” he said. 

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News Network
October 2,2022

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BJP is likely to romp home comfortably in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections later this year as the AAP is unlikely to be a big factor, according to ABP-CVoter survey on Sunday. The survey also predicted that the Congress' numbers may further diminish.

In Gujarat, the ruling BJP is likely to improve its numbers from the current 99 to 135-143 seats out of 182 seats at the cost of Congress. Congress, which has 77 seats, is likely to get only 36-44 seats.

AAP, which has been spending considerable time in Gujarat after its impressive victory in Punjab, is unlikely to win more than two seats, according to the survey. However, it may garner 17.4 per cent vote. 

Both Congress and BJP appear to be losing votes to AAP but the largest chunk is from the former. Congress which garnered 41.4 per cent votes may have to settle for 32.3 per cent, while the BJP which got 49.1 per cent may get only 46.4 per cent, according to the survey.

In Himachal Pradesh, the survey has projected that BJP can get 37 to 45 seats out of 68 seats, followed by the Congress with 21 to 29 seats. AAP is unlikely to have an impact in the state though it may garner 9.5 per cent votes.

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News Network
October 3,2022

Makkah, Oct 3: The Umrah visa has been extended from one to three months for all Umrah performers of all nationalities, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said.

He made this announcement during his two-day official visit to Tashkent where the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the Saudi minister at the conclusion of the Dr. Al-Rabiah's visit.

The minister conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman to President Mirziyoyev and the Uzbek government and people and their wishes of further growth for Uzbekistan.

They wished prosperity to Uzbekistan in light of the ongoing reforms that the republic is witnessing, stressing that the visit is an extension of distinguished historical relations between the two countries and resulted in several cooperation agreements in various fields.

The accords were primarily in the Hajj and Umrah, which reflects the great efforts of the leadership in serving Islam and Muslims and facilitating procedures for pilgrims and Umrah performers.

The minister added that the recent Hajj season saw the participation of some 12,000 Uzbek pilgrims after authorities increased the numbers of pilgrims following the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that more than 36,000 people from Uzbekistan have performed Umrah during the last two months, the majority of whom managed to visit Madinah and pray at Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifah and visited religious and historical sites in Madinah.

Al-Rabiah’s visit witnessed holding of several meetings with various officials to discuss means of enhancing cooperation in various fields and developing distinguished ties between the two countries.

The discussions mainly revolved around the automating of all services and programs that are now offered electronically through Nusuk platform and issuing visit and Umrah visas quickly.

The minister met with several Uzbek officials as part of boosting cooperation between the two countries in various fields and stressing the deep-rooted bilateral relations.

Talks during the visit also reviewed means to enhance strategic bilateral cooperation between the two sides to enhance the quality of services provided to Uzbek Umrah performers.

This is in addition to going over the possibility of increasing the activities of joint committees in several aspects, including increasing the number of flights between the two countries. 

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