The Bombay High Court upheld the life imprisonment sentence of 11 accused in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case that had occurred in 2002. The rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members was one of the most horrifying incidents that had taken place during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. For the past 15 years, Bilkis Bano had taken up the matter with the local police, an NGO, the CBI and the courts to get justice for herself.
On March 3, 19-year-old Bilkis Bano along with her family were on their way, escaping a mob on a truck. Bilkis was five months pregnant and accompanying her were 17 other people in the truck, including her 2-year-old daughter. The truck was attacked by an armed mob, who gangraped her and killed 14 members of her family including her daughter, her mother Halima and cousin Shamim.
The 19-year-old approached the local police station to register a case against the assailants. However, the police dismissed her case and threatened her with dire consequences if she proceeded with the matter. She then approached the National Human Rights Commission of India and petitioned the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court directed the CBI to probe into the matter. In the meantime, she along with her family were issued threats, which forced her to request the SC to move the case outside Gujarat. The SC then shifted the case to Maharashtra.
In the Mumbai court, charges were filed against 19 men, including 6 police officers and a government doctor. In January 2008, 11 of them were sentenced to life imprisonment for gangrape and murder. The CBI however had asked for death penalty for Jaswantbai Nai, Govindbhai Nai and Radhesham Shah, who were charged for having played a significant role in planning and execution of the entire incident. The 11 convicts had however, filed an appeal to the High Court challenging their conviction.