The Supreme Court’s order to me is not about the money. It is about the signal it has sent to the state and to each citizen of this country.
New Delhi: “Though it was a tough journey, I kept my faith in the Constitution and my right as a citizen of this country,” said Bilkis Bano, who finally got justice after her 17 years of struggle.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the Gujarat government to give Rs 50 lakh as compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis Bano, who was gangraped during the 2002 riots in the state.
“It’s not about the money, it is about the message, she said on Wednesday, adding, “No citizen of India should have to suffer violations by the state.”
This is first time in India a compensation of this magnitude has been awarded to a survivor of gangrape and mass murder during communal and targeted violence.
In the aftermath of the Godhra riots, Bilkis Rasool was five month pregnant when she was gangraped in March 3, 2002, and 14 members of her family, including her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter who was smashed to death. Several female members of her family were also raped and murdered. Bilkis is the only adult survivor and eyewitness to the horrific massacre.
Talking about her journey Ms Bano said, ‘It has been a journey of a million steps, first seeking criminal conviction of those who destroyed my life, my child and my entire family. But today, the state has been convicted in a court of morals and constitutional principles. The Supreme Court’s order to me is not about the money. It is about the signal it has sent to the state and to each citizen of this country.
When further asked what she planned to do with the money, she said, “This money will finally help me give my children a stable life and perhaps I can see my eldest daughter grow up into a lawyer and defend others.”
“I also want to use part of the money to help other women survivors of hate and communal violence seek justice,” said a teary eyed Bilkis, with her husband Yakub supporting her.