13 convicted in Bilkis Bano case


Mumbai : A Mumbai lower court Friday convicted 13 people, including a police officer, in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 members of her family during the 2002 Gujarat sectarian riots.

Support TwoCircles

Additional sessions judge U.D. Salvi held 13 of the 20 accused guilty of rape, murder, assault, conspiracy and causing enmity between two communities. The remaining seven accused, including five police officials and two doctors, were acquitted.

The court will pronounce the sentences Monday.

The 13 convicted are – police officer Somabhai Khoyabhai Gori, Jaswantbhai Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radheshyam Shah, Bipinchandra Joshi, Kesherbhai Vohania, Pradip Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt, Ramesh Chandania and Naresh Modia (dead).

The acquitted police officers are – Narpatsingh Ranchodbhai, Idris Abdul Siayed, Bhikhbhai Patela and B.S. Bhagoria. The two acquitted doctors are Arunkumar Prasad and Sangeeta Prasad.

The Bilkis Bano case had its origins during the Gujarat riots of March 2002. Bano witnessed 14 members of her family being massacred by a violent mob, when they were trying to escape from their riot-struck village Randhikpur, 250 km away from Ahmedabad.

Six months pregnant at the time, Bilkis survived the slaughter, but not before being subjected to gang rape by a savage mob.

The trial began in Ahmedabad. However, after Bano expressed fears that witnesses could be harmed and the Central Bureau of Investigation evidence tampered with, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.