INDIAN JUSTICE GIVEN TO ONE, DENIED TO 2,000.
Gang-rape victim awarded Pounds (GB) 55,000 for Gujarat attack
By Joe Wallen in Delhi
A LANDMARK ruling in India has granted a woman who was gang-raped and left for dead during the 2002 Gujarat riots five million rupees (#55,300) in compensation.
Bilkis Yakoob Rasool Bano, 36, is the first woman to receive direct financial redress from India’s supreme court for crimes committed during the riots.
It comes after a 17-year legal fight during which Ms Bano received death threats. The court ruled that the Gujarat authorities must offer her a government job and a house in an area of her choice.
The riots were sparked when a train carrying Hind pilgrims was set on fire, resulting in 58 deaths. There followed three days of violent revenge against the state’s minority Muslim population, in which 1,900 people died. Like many Muslims, Ms Bano and her family attempted to flee the violence. However, their rack was stopped by rioters near Ahmedabad.
The mob murdered 14 members of her family, including her three-year old daughter who was beaten to death with a rock.
Heavily pregnant Ms Bano was gang-raped 22 times and left for dead.
She first tried to bring her attackers to justice in 2003 but the Gujarat police refused to believe her claims.
Ms Bano then approached India’s national human rights commission, which finally brought her case to the supreme court. Eventually, the case was moved to Mumbai and in 2008, 11 of her attackers received life sentences. Seven doctors and policemen were also sentenced for trying to tamper with evidence to discredit Ms Bano’s claims.
Eleven years later, she has finally reached an agreement with the authorities over financial compensation.
The Daily Telegraph, London, April 25, 2019, p.14.