Hyderabad: `Where Are The Women' launch tattoo protest to seek 'Justice for Bilkis Bano'

Hyderabad-based `Where Are The Women’ applied Henna tattoos on 20 people inscribed with ‘Justice for Bilkis Bano’ slogans. The tattoo protest was aimed to draw attention and mobilize public opinion against the release of 11 rapists in Gujarat.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  21 Sep 2022 6:50 AM GMT
Hyderabad: `Where Are The Women launch tattoo protest to seek Justice for  Bilkis Bano

A group of Hyderbad feminists has launched a unique protest to seek justice for Gujarat rape victim Bilkis Bano.

Hyderabad-based `Where Are The Women' applied Henna tattoos on 20 people inscribed with 'Justice for Bilkis Bano' slogans. The tattoo protest was aimed to draw attention and mobilize public opinion against the release of 11 rapists in Gujarat.

`Where Are The Women' is a group of feminists championing the cause of increasing the representation of women and girls in Educational, Social, Economical and Political Spaces

Varsha Bhargavi, Director of Where Are The Women, has been at the forefront to demand justice for Bilkis Bano. This follows the release of 11 rapists under the Gujarat government's remission policy.

At a Bharat Jodo yatra planning meeting held in the city, Varsha wrote 'Justice of Bilkis Bano' with Henna and tattooed it on 20 men and women.

"Many organizations and activists across the country continue to hold multiple protests. However, I wanted to try something in my way and we did it impromptu," Varsha said.

"The henna tattoo will stay for at least a week or more. Every time these men or anyone around them see the tattoos, they will be reminded that 11 men who brutally murdered and raped a pregnant woman have walked free," she added.

Varsha said there is no regret, no remorse for releasing convicted persons. Instead, they are being celebrated by some politicians and organizations.

"This is most concerning. We must keep highlighting this issue to common people. We appeal to the common people to see the truth between the propaganda," said Kiran Vissa, National Convenor of the National Alliance of People's Movement. Kiran was one of the persons who got the 'Justice for Bilkis Bano' tattoo applied on her hand.

In 2002, communal riots broke out in Gujarat after the death of 57 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire at Godhra. Over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims died in the riots that followed.

Fourteen of Bilkis Bano's family members were among those murdered in the riots. Bano then 19 and pregnant, was gang raped by 11 men from her village. She was left to die. However, she survived.

Six years later, 11 accused were sentenced to life imprisonment for gang rape and murder.

The convicts were recently released from a Godhra jail after the Gujarat government approved their application under its remission policy. The factors taken into consideration for remission include "age, nature of the crime, behavior in prison".

On September 19, a prosecution witness in the Bilkis Bano case wrote to Chief Justice UU Lalit claiming that he was threatened by one of the men convicted of murder and rape.

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