Bilkis Bano , Sonali Phogat And The Silence Of Smriti Irani

File Picture

Women and Child development minister Smriti Irani has often led the government charge against any attack by the opposition on the Modi government with great deal of zeal and gung- ho.

Remember how Smriti Irani who came out with all guns blazing in parliament when the Congress leader of Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury made his infamous Rashtrapatni remark on President Droupadi Murmu which caused a massive uproar. Irani was at her aggressive best taunting the Congress and even asking interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi to apologise to the nation for Adhir’s comments. The news channels to were buoyed by Irani’s aggression and played her angry image in parliament .

Then came the second instance when Irani took the Congress leaders Pawan Khera and Jairam Ramesh to court after the duo alleged her daughter’s link with an illegal bar in Goa. A fuming Irani addressed a series of press conferences and the channels here to presented her side of the story to demolish any questions. Delhi HC gave orders in her favour and asked Congress leaders to take down the said Tweets put up by the Congress leaders.

However this aggressive stance of Irani and addressing the media was clearly absent in the two subsequent cases that hogged the limelight . When the Gujarat HC granted remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case which caused uproar Irani chose to remain silent. It may be recalled that the Gujarat government on August 15 released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gangrape case of 2002 under its remission and premature release policy after one of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah, moved the Supreme Court. Shah, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court in Mumbai in 2008, had completed 15 years and 4 months in jail.

Unlike Smriti Irani, the Gujarat HC order saw reactions from BJP leaders too – Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case were released following a Supreme Court order but it is wrong if a person accused of a crime is “felicitated”. “The accused who were sentenced to 14-20 years prison, were released after an order from the Supreme Court. But welcoming the accused after their release is wrong. The accused is accused. No one should support them,” Fadnavis was quoted  as saying.

Another BJP Leader Khushbu Sundar said that it is an insult to humankind if those involved in the brutality with her are allowed to roam free. Sundar took to Twitter and said, “A woman who is raped, assaulted, brutalised and her soul scarred for life must get justice. No man who has been involved in it should go free. If he does so, it’s an insult to humankind and womanhood. #BilkisBano or any woman, needs support, beyond politics n ideologies. Period.” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked in a tweet in Hindi, “Smriti Irani, does your blood not boil when you see the 11 rapists being released?”

TMC MP Mahua Moitra, who had filed a plea seeking re-look at the remission in SC,  took a dig at “self-righteous TV anchors” who did not do a “panel discussion on Bilkis Bano” case. As she tweeted

Realising the gravity of the situation , Supreme Court has sought responses from the Centre and the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the remission granted to 11 life convicts in the case of Bilkis Bano’s gangrape and murder of her family members. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana ( before he bowed out  as CJI)  had issued notice to the Centre and the state government on the plea and asked the petitioners to implead those who have been granted remission as parties in the matter. The apex court also posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

The Supreme Court was apparently  hearing three petitions challenging the release of 11 life convicts in the 2002 Gujarat riots Bilkis Bano gangrape case. Supreme Court said, question is, under Gujarat rules, are the convicts entitled to remission or not? We’ve to see whether there was application of mind in this case while granting remission, SC said.

Further, another instance of Irani’s silence is the shocking murder of BJP MLA Sonali Phogat in BJP ruled Goa under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant . She according to reports was drugged and murdered . Sonali’s daughter and family had expressed unhappiness over the probe by Goa police and have demanded CBI probe . The same Goa where Irani’s daughter was allegedly linked to an illegal bar . Irani’s response to both incidents is remarkably opposite. Aggression in one while mum on the other.

Moreover, why only blame or single out Irani alone for her silence? Remember one eccentric boisterous anchor who was shouting Uddhav , Uddhav , Uddhav ( The Sushant Singh Rajput death ) on prime time for months together  but has now pressed the silent mode button  as far as  Goa BJP CM Pramod Sawant’s inept handling of the Sonali Phogat murder case is concerned .

Most Popular

To Top