At a recent government event on Saturday, one of the 11 people convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case and was released last year due to Gujarat’s remission policy, appeared alongside Jasvantsinh Bhabhor, a member of parliament from the BJP representing Dahod, and his brother Shailesh Bhabhor, a BJP legislator from Limkheda.
Shailesh Bhatt, the convict aged 63, and the Bhabhors were present at the inauguration of a Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB) project in Karmadi village in the Singvad taluka of Dahod district.
Photographs of the event, which were made public by the Dahod District Information Department, show that Bhatt was sitting in the first row, with Jasvantsinh Bhabhor on one side and Kanta Damor, the president of the Singvad taluka panchayat, on the other. The backdrop of the stage featured pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Water Supply Minister Kunvarji Bavaliya, and Jasvantsinh Bhabhor.
Today, speaking on the issue, Congress MP Manish Tewari said, “the fact that an elected representative decides to share the statge with someone who has been convicted of such a henious crime is something that is reprehensible and should be condemned in the strongest possible way.”