At a government function conducted at Limkheda in the Dahod district of the state, one of the prisoners in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape and murder of her family members case—freed last year under Gujarat’s remission policy—shared the stage with BJP MP Jaswant Bhabhor and his MLA brother Shailesh Bhabhor.
The inmate, Shailesh Bhatt, responded that he went there for a “puja” ceremony when questioned about whether he attended the programme on Saturday. He declined to provide further details.
Shailesh Bhabhor posted a photo of Bhatt on his Twitter account along with a statement announcing the foundation-laying ceremony for the around Rs 101.89 billion Kadana dam bulk pipeline project.
“I went there for puja,” Bhatt said.
In a picture released by the Dahod district information office, he could be seen standing next to Jaswant Bhabhor, a former minister of state for tribal affairs in the Union.
Bhatt and 10 other people were sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty by a special CBI court in Mumbai in 2008 of gang raping and killing seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family. They were doing time in the Godhra sub-jail in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district.
All 11 inmates were released on 15 August, 2022 from the sub-jail after serving a 15-year sentence, despite public protest over the Gujarat government’s decision to allow their early release under its remission programme.