Congress president-elect Mallikarjun Kharge Thursday took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a Union minister defending the release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano case and asked if this was the respect for women he was preaching.
Citing Modi's remarks that respect for women is important for India's growth, he alleged that BJP leaders are attending events hosted by another rape convict out on parole.
"PM Modi said respect for women is an important pillar for India's growth. A cabinet minister defends the release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano Case. BJP leaders attend an event hosted by another rape convict who's out on parole. Is this the respect for women that PM was preaching," Mr Kharge asked on Twitter.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five-month pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
The 11 men convicted in the case walked out free from the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy.
The Gujarat government has told the top court that the Ministry of Home Affairs approved the premature release of the 11 convicts vide letter dated July 11, 2022. It also disclosed the proposal was opposed by the Superintendent of Police, CBI, Special Crime Branch, Mumbai and the Special Civil Judge (CBI), City Civil and Sessions Court, Greater Bombay.
The Congress has hit out at the BJP and Prime Minister Modi over the early release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case and said it is for the people of the country to judge if the action was right.
"It is repugnant, reprehensible and revolting that an elected government chose to release these convicts in such a cavalier manner. The grant of premature release to the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case is a stain on this government's legacy that will never wash off," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi has said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)