VD Satheesan terms Kerala CM inviting Amit Shah for Onam celebrations as 'unfortunate' 

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VD Satheesan and Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: ANI, Mathrubhumi Archives

Kochi: Kerala Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan on Saturday said that it is "unfortunate" that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah to inaugurate the Nehru Trophy Boat Race at a time when the country is protesting against the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah to inaugurate the Nehru Trophy Boat Race which will be held next month.

While talking to ANI, Satheesan said, "Pinarayi Vijayan invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah to inaugurate the Nehru trophy boat race in Kerala. This is very interesting. These are the days the Bilkis Bano case is discussed. Then the Gujarat Home Minister was Amit Shah. And the entire nation is discussing the Bilkis Bano case. This is very unfortunate that he has been invited."

"We have made allegations against the CPI(M) and BJP that there are middlemen between CPI(M) state leadership and the Sangh Parivar leadership. Now the SNC Lavlin case is also pending in the Supreme Court. Unfortunately for the last 30 times, the CBI advocate was not there. I think it is going to be taken this month itself. I don't think that the CBI advocate will appear. These are the political settlements," he added.

A southern zone council meeting of southern states will be conducted from August 30 to September 3 at Kovalam, in which Shah will also participate. The CM has requested Shah to return only after the Onam celebrations following the council meeting.

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the remission granted by the state to 11 convicts who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath sought a response from the Gujarat government and posted it for hearing after two weeks. It also asked petitioners to make 11 convicts parties in the case.

The apex court in its order stated, "Issue notice. File your reply. We direct the 11 convicts to be impleaded in the case."

The plea before the apex court was filed by members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, and social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma.The plea sought setting aside of order granting remission to 11 convicts and directing their immediate re-arrest.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra also moved the apex court against the early release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

The plea filed by three women said they have challenged the order of competent authority of the government of Gujarat by way of which 11 persons who were accused in a set of heinous offences committed in Gujarat were allowed to walk free on August 15, 2022, pursuant to remission being extended to them.

The petition said the case which led to the conviction of the 11 convicts was investigated by the CBI, accordingly, the grant of remission solely by the Gujarat government without any consultation with the Central government is impermissible in terms of the mandate of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

"The remission in this heinous case would be entirely against public interest and would shock the collective public conscience, as also be entirely against the interests of the victim (whose family has publicly made statements worrying for her safety)," read the plea.

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, on August 15.

Meanwhile, all the 11 life-term convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara. ANI

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