Bilkis Bano, an Indian Muslim woman who was gang-raped in the 2002 Gujarat riots, said that her peace has been taken away after the Gujarat government released her 11 rapists on Monday. Her rapists were released on August 15, i.e. Independence Day of India. They were convicted in 2008.

She has requested the government to reverse the decision.

“How can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice,” said Bilkis in her statement.

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“My sorrow and my wavering faith are not for myself alone but for every woman who is struggling for justice in courts,” she added.

“No one enquired about my safety and well-being, before taking such a big and unjust decision… Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace. Please ensure that my family and I are kept safe.”

What happened with Bilkis Bano?

At the age of 21, Bilkis Bano was five months pregnant when she was brutally gang-raped in 2002 in Gujarat.

The 2002 Gujarata riots are considered one of the worst anti-Muslim riots in India that saw nearly 2,000 people — mostly Muslims — killed.

On March 3, 2002, Bilkis and her family members were attacked by about 30 people armed with sickles, swords, and sticks. Among the attackers were the 11 accused men.

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Bilkis, her mother, and three other women were raped and brutally assaulted. Seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family, including her three-year-old daughter, were also murdered.

Bilkis is now in her 40s.