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I am ashamed: Shabana Azmi breaks down while talking about Bilkis Bano case- Cinema express

I am ashamed: Shabana Azmi breaks down while talking about Bilkis Bano case

The 11 people accused of gangraping then pregnant Bilkis Bano, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, were recently released 

Published: 02nd September 2022

Actor Shabana Azmi broke down while talking to a news channel about the release of 11 men accused of gangraping Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

She said that she was expecting outrage in the days after the men were released from jail by the Gujarat government, but none came. “I have no words (for Bilkis Bano) except that I am deeply ashamed. I have no other word,” she told NDTV.

During the riots, seven members of Bilkis’s family were killed. Her three-year-old daughter was thrown on the ground and murdered by the attackers, who were her neighbours. Bilkis, then pregnant, was gang-raped by the men. The accused, who were released as per a special remission granted by the state, were greeted with garlands.

“Should we not fight for her?” Shabana asked. “Shouldn’t we be shouting from the rooftops so that justice is done to this person? And the women who are feeling unsafe in this country, women who face the threat of rape everyday – shouldn’t they get some sense of security? What do I answer my children, my grandchildren? What can I say to Bilkis? I am ashamed.” She continued, “I was just stunned that this could happen. Even now I think there is not enough understanding of the injustice and horror of what has happened…These convicts are released and they are felicitated and laddoos are being distributed – what is the signal we are giving to society? What is the signal we are giving to women? We have a government that professes Nari Shakti on the very same day. And we are helplessly sitting around…”

Talking about the mass protests that erupted after the Nirbhaya case, Shabana said, “ Why this complete silence in Bilkis case?”

Earlier, the actor’s husband, writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar also condemned the release of the perpetrators. “Those who raped a 5 month pregnant woman after killing 7 of her family including her 3-year-old daughter were set free from the jail offered sweets and were garlanded . Don’t hide behind whatabouts . Think !! Some thing is seriously going wrong with our society,” he had tweeted.

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