Hundreds protests against release of 11 convicted rapists in India

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Hundreds Protests Against Release Of 11 Convicted Rapists In India Hundreds Protests Against Release Of 11 Convicted Rapists In India
Indian protests, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Bhumika Saraswati, AP

Hundreds of people across India have protested against a recent government decision to free 11 men who had been jailed for life for gang raping a Muslim woman during devastating religious riots in 2002.

Protesters in the country’s capital, New Delhi, chanted slogans and called for the government in the western state of Gujarat to rescind the decision. They also sang songs in solidarity with the victim.

Similar protests were held in several other states across the country.


An activist speaks during a demonstration in New Delhi (AP)

The 11 men, released on suspended sentences on August 15 when India celebrated 75 years of independence, were convicted in 2008 of rape, murder and unlawful assembly.

The woman involved, who is now in her 40s, recently said the decision by the Gujarat state government has shaken her faith in justice.

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The victim was pregnant when she was brutally gang raped in communal violence in 2002 in Gujarat, which saw more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed in some of the worst religious riots India has experienced since its independence from Britain in 1947.

Seven members of the woman’s family, including her three-year-old daughter, were also killed in the violence.


Hundreds of people protested against the move to release the rapists (AP)

“The whole country should demand an answer directly from the prime minister of this country,” said Kavita Krishnan, a prominent activist.

Officials in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party holds power, have said that the convicts’ application for remission was granted because they had completed more than 14 years in jail.

The men were eligible under a 1992 remission policy that was in effect at the time of their conviction, officials said.

A newer version of the policy adopted in 2014 by the federal government prohibits remission release for those convicted of certain crimes, including rape and murder.

The riots have long hounded Mr Modi, who was Gujarat’s top elected official at the time, amid allegations that authorities allowed and even encouraged the bloodshed.

Mr Modi has repeatedly denied having any role and the Supreme Court has said it found no evidence to prosecute him.

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