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Bilkis Bano Convicts, Gurmeet Ram Rahim: Why are Netas Protecting Rapists?

Why are politicians and people glorifying rapists instead of punishing them? Janab, Aise Kaise?

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English Script: Akanksha Pandey

Video Editor: Rajbir Singh

On 5 March 2017, addressing a rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, "A daughter is asking for justice and the Chief Minister is protecting the perpetrator. What could be worse than this?"

But on 15 August 2022, 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case, and sentenced to life imprisonment, were released from prison, welcomed and garlanded.

In October 2022, Gurmeet Ram Rahim – self-proclaimed godman convicted of rape, was released on a 40-day parole.

How and why do political parties, governments and people support and even glorify rapists?

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In December 2012, thousands of people across the nation had come out on the streets in protest, demanding the death penalty for Nirbhaya's rapists.

But imagine if the same people had come out in support of the rapists instead? On the pretext that the rapists belonged to their community, religion, or caste?

What if they garlanded and welcomed these rapists too?

Imagine seeking blessings from Nirbhaya's rapists, garlanding and felicitating them!

How is this was possible, and who would glorify rapists, you would ask

Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim was convicted for raping female workers at his Dera Sacha Sauda Ashram, and killing journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh, the manager of Dera Sacha Sauda. Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Panchkula's special CBI court in 2017.

And yet, he is currently out of jail on a 40-day-parole.

While Father Stan Swamy breathed his last, waiting for bail on grounds of deteriorating health, Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been granted parole for conducting a virtual gathering, and for making a music video on Diwali.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim, rather conveniently, gets out of jail before every election. He was released on parole and furlow thrice in 2021 and 2022. He was out on parole during the Punjab Legislative Assembly Elections, Haryana Municipal Elections and Adampur Legislative Assembly Bypolls.

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One may argue, that Gurmeet's release was 'within the provisions of law,' but, what is the explanation for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders seeking blessings from Gurmeet, who is a rapist and a murderer?

On 18 October 2022, Gurmeet Ram Rahim conducted a 'virtual gathering,' where BJP politician and Mayor of Karnal Renu Bala Gupta referred to him as a father figure. She said,

'Please keep blessing us father. You had come to Karnal earlier too, and your message of cleanliness led to the development of Karnal. Please keep coming to Karnal and contributing to its development.'

Along with Renu Bala Gupta, Deputy Speaker of Haryana Legislative Assembly Ranbir Gangwa, BJP Karnal District President Yogender Rana, Deputy Mayor Naveen Kumar and Senior Deputy Mayor Rajesh Kumar were among others to celebrate Gurmeet Ram Rahim and seek his blessings.

Does this rapist-neta nexus exist solely for the purpose of votes?

Will those promoting "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao," sack these politicians from their party, or does a rapist's blessing matter more?

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The 11 men who raped a 19-year-old pregnant Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat Riots, and killed her two-year-old daughter and 14 family members, were released by the BJP-led Gujarat government on India's 76th Independence Day. They were welcomed and garlanded.

Their release was approved by the Union Home Ministry, on the grounds of 'good behaviour.'

Many of these convicts were out of jail on parole and furlow during their 14-year sentence, and one of the convicts surrendered 122 days late.

In 2018, an eight-year-old girl was gangraped and killed in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. Days later, a 'Tiranga Yatra' in support of the rapists was organised.

In Noida's Grande Omaxe Society, BJP leader Shrikant Tyagi was caught on camera, verbally abusing and threatening a woman. The Tyagi community took out a rally in support of Shrikant Tyagi.

All these instances force us to ask politicians and people who support those who commit crimes against women – Janab, Aise Kaise?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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