Representative Image Only

The trials of Indian Muslim women: A never-ending quest for justice

Since the right-wing has emerged as a political force, they appear to be attempting to erase all the crimes they have committed in the past. 


THE Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case has given rise to a vicious attitude that rape is a justified political and masculinity-affirming tool.  Instances of mass rapes being committed in the name of nationalistic pride are not uncommon.

Sadly, in India only rape cases with a political dimension or which receive  media attention are reported, whilst many more go unreported. Although  deterrent laws exist in place, the justice system has been unable to put a  permanent end to the increase in rapes and sexual assaults. 

Also read: Understanding contemporary sexual assault in India from the lens of the caste system

For Bilkis Bano, the road to justice was not an easy one as it was an extremely dangerous and trauma-inducing  journey. When she filed a complaint, she received numerous  death threats; yet, she fought heroically until the edge of the line, making it possible to put the guilty behind bars. She waited a long time simply to see  the rapist get punished , but her exhilaration faded quickly, and the shameful moment of the rapist’s release literally mocks her bravery, with videos surfacing on social media on the warm welcome received by the rapists of Bilkis Bano

The criminals were freed following an investigation into the nature of the crime by a committee established by the government of Gujarat to give remissions. 

Also read: Outrage over the premature release of Bilkis Bano convicts

Since the right-wing has emerged as a political force, they appear to be attempting to erase all the crimes they have committed in the past. From Zakia Jafri to Bilkis Bano,  attempts to remove the stain off their hands with the help of state machinery are glaringly evident. 

Its pertinent to mention the incident of Kunan Poshpora when many women  were subjected to sexual abuse but went unreported until very late. In 1992, two adjacent villages of Kashmir, Kunan and Poshpora, witnessed a horrific night that lasted very long. The elder males of both villages were allegedly made to stand on extreme snow while youngsters were taken to the detention camps.

Five courageous Kashmiri women, Essar Batool, Ifrah Butt, Sameena Mushtaque, Munaza Rashid, and Natasha Rather, persistently sought to revive the case in 2013, and made progress in the fight against unjust dominance.

The committee established by the Press Council of India  , however, released a report stating that no solid evidence was found, and the case was therefore totally dismissed and no longer pending in court. When the matter became public, no one could accept that the armed forces could have done this; there had to be some sort of plan to discredit the armed forces, it was claimed.

Also read: Supreme Court draws a parallel between 2002 Gujarat pogrom and the Covid second wave to rule out criminal conspiracy

The irony of Indian peace-loving civil society is that the choice of an individual determines crime. Their preferences determine which crimes are harmful and which are not. Both Bilkis Bano and Kunan Poshpora rape survivors do not meet the set standard of that civil society. However, when alleged rapists in Hyderabad were killed in an encounter, that very society praised and admired the police encounter.  Rape ought to be considered a brutal crime in the face of humanity and must be collectively condemned at all costs, whichever the community the victim or survivor belongs to.  

If collective refutations are not expressed by the peace-loving society, the situation will only get worse, and the days of a broken society are not far away. Wherever a daughter, sister, mother, or child lives, regardless of religious beliefs, they must live with peace.