‘Shocked, stunned’: IIM-Bangalore faculty, staff write to CJI seeking justice for Bilkis Bano

Expressing “shock and anguish” over the remission granted to the Bilkis Bano gang rape convicts, as many as 54 faculty and staff members of IIM Bangalore Thursday wrote to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, saying the Gujarat government’s act “emboldens” perpetrators of such heinous crimes and “extinguishes” the hopes of millions of Indians on the judicial system.

In a letter to the CJI, the 54 signatories, including senior faculty members of the premier business school, said the remission is not only a denial of justice but “also presents a real and immediate danger to Bilkis Bano and her family”.

“The sympathetic treatment these convicted men have received is shocking. What kind of a nation are we turning into if Bilkis Bano is left to defend herself while her violators are given a hero’s welcome?…We appeal to you, Honourable Chief Justice, to enable us to continue to repose our trust in the Supreme Court,” they wrote in the letter.

On Thursday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ramama issued notice to the Centre and the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the release of the 11 convicts in the 2002 case. The matter has been posted for hearing after two weeks.

Expressing their solidarity with Bano, the IIM Bangalore functionaries said the crime committed against her were no ordinary crimes as the perpetrators were accused and convicted of gang rape and murders of the most depraved and inhumane kind.

“We are stunned and deeply anguished by this act of the Government of Gujarat. We look to our legal system and courts to deliver on the promise we as a nation “have solemnly resolved”, “to secure to all its citizens: justice, liberty, equality and fraternity”,” observed the letter.

The horrors that Bano underwent should not be experienced by any woman anywhere, it underlined. The remission is “bound to embolden perpetrators of such heinous crimes while simultaneously extinguishing the hope of millions of Indians who look up to the courts to deliver justice,” it added.