The Supreme court on Tuesday directed the Gujarat government to give 2002 communal riots victim Bilkis Yakoob Rasool Bano Rs 50 lakh in compensation, a government job and a home in the area of her choice. Bilkis Bano was brutally raped by eleven men during the Gujarat riots when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state. Bano was just 19 years old and pregnant when fourteen members of her family including her three-year-old child were murdered by rioters at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002. The apex court had ordered the state government to complete disciplinary action against police officers whom the Bombay High Court had convicted in the case.
The Ranjan Gogoi-led bench has ordered the Gujarat government to give the compensation amount to Bilkis Bano within two weeks. The bench further observed that Bano was a witness of the "devastation" of her family. It also noted how her three-year-old infant daughter was "smashed" against the wall. Chief Justice Gogoi added that that the there is no point looking at the past and the victim should be rehabilitated with immediate effect. As per her lawyer, Bilkis Bano is living a nomadic living after losing everything in Gujarat riots.
Chief Justice Gogoi said: "In today's world, money is the best healer. We do not know whether it can heal all, but what else can we do for her. Ask for whatever compensation you want and we will pass orders accordingly."
The Chief justice also slammed Gujarat counsel Hemantika Wahi for intervening while he passed the order. "You are lucky, we are not observing anything against you... How many years has this case been pending?" he said. The Supreme court has also ordered the state government to withdraw the pension benefits of three police officers held guilty in the case. The Bombay High Court had upheld the life imprisonment of 11 accused in the case.