Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Bilkis Bano case: Witness writes to Chief Justice of India citing threat to life

Eleven men convicted for mass rape and murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots were freed from Godhra sub-jail last month after a government panel approved their plea for remission of sentence.

The 11 convicts of the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots, walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15, serving 18 years of their life term, after the Gujarat government granted them remission from the life sentencing. (Express photo)

A prosecution witness in the Bilkis Bano case has written to the Chief Justice of India U U Lalit alleging threats from one of the key convicts and expressing fear for his life.

Eleven men convicted for mass rape and murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots were freed from the Godhra sub-jail last month after a state government panel approved their application for remission of sentence.

The witness Imtiaz Ghanchi, a native of Singvad (Randhikpur) village, where the convicts and Bilkis hail from, has stated in his representation that on September 15, he was travelling from Singvad village to his current residence in Devgadh Baria when the convict Radheshyam Shah saw him at the Piplod railway barricade and purportedly told him, “What did you get by calling me an accused, I’m out now”.

In his representation dated September 19, Ghanchi said Shah and the driver of his vehicle laughed before leaving. Following the incident, Ghanchi has stated that there is a threat to his life and has sought “appropriate legal proceedings” against the convicts.

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Ghanchi has also sent copies of his representation to the Gujarat home secretary, the National Human Rights Commission, the Dahod district collector and the Dahod police.

During the course of the trial before the special Mumbai CBI court, Ghanchi had deposed that he had seen one of the accused Naresh Modhiya – who had died during the trial – holding a Rampuri knife in his hand and another accused Pradeep Modhiya pelting stones, besides chanting slogans near his residence in Randhikpur on the day following the Godhra train burning incident. On seeing the mob, Ghanchi, his mother and sister left their residence and sought refuge in the home of one Lalu Madiya Parmar, where they stayed for two days. He had further deposed that none from the mob entered Parmar’s home, but he had witnessed the burning of his residence and looting of his belongings.

First published on: 20-09-2022 at 03:49:56 pm
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