Two politicians, Kalvakuntla Kavitha of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress, have criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after one of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape case shared a stage with a BJP MP and MLA at a government programme on Saturday. Shailesh Bhatt, a convict in the case, was present at the launch of a group water supply scheme, along with Dahod BJP MP Jasvantsinh Bhabhor and Limkheda MLA Sailesh Bhabhor. Kavitha and Moitra both took to Twitter to express their opinions on the matter. Kavitha stated that it is unacceptable for perpetrators of heinous crimes against women to be celebrated and given a platform while victims plead for justice. Moitra called for the convicts to be returned to jail and for the government that applauds this travesty of justice to be voted out. The Supreme Court will hear pleas against the premature release of 11 convicts who gang-raped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots on Monday. The Gujarat government granted remission to these convicts on August 10 last year, and they walked free on August 15, 2022.
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