Bilkis Bano Godhra

(SPEAKER)

Devgadh Baria, Gujarat

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Bilkis Bano is an Indian rape survivor, who was brutally raped by a few men during the Gujarat Riots in 2002.On 27 February 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express was heading towards Godhara from Ayodhya, carrying most of the Hindu passengers. The train was reportedly stopped by a mob of Muslims. The mob attacked the passengers and ignited the train in which more than 59 Hindu devotees were killed. Godhra train burning incident.This incident brought a rage among the Hindus residing in Gujarat, and this marked the beginning of the Gujarat riots. The next day of the incident, the mobs of Hindus started attacking the Muslims in various parts of Gujarat.

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Bilkis Bano is an Indian rape survivor, who was brutally raped by a few men during the Gujarat Riots in 2002.On 27 February 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express was heading towards Godhara from Ayodhya, carrying most of the Hindu passengers. The train was reportedly stopped by a mob of Muslims. The mob attacked the passengers and ignited the train in which more than 59 Hindu devotees were killed. Godhra train burning incident.This incident brought a rage among the Hindus residing in Gujarat, and this marked the beginning of the Gujarat riots. The next day of the incident, the mobs of Hindus started attacking the Muslims in various parts of Gujarat.One such family of Muslims who were attacked by the Hindu mobs was the family of Bilkis Bano, a residence of Godhara. When Bilkis and her family got the news of the attacks, they escaped their home and hide at the residence of the village sarpanch. Bilkis who was 5 months pregnant at that time was accompanied by her daughter, mother, siblings, and few other family members. In an interview, while remembering that time, Bilkis said, I was in the kitchen making lunch, when my aunt and her children came running. They said their homes were being set on fire and we had to leave immediately. We left with just the clothes we were wearing, we didnt even have the time to put on our slippers. The old home of Bilgis Bano and his family which is now turned into a shop.They then hide in a school in their village, and then in a mosque. During the exodus, one of her cousins who was in the last month of her pregnancy delivered a baby girl. Bilkis and his family members tried to escape for almost 2-3 days, but on 3 March 2002, they were attacked by a mob of 20-30 people armed with swords and sticks.Bilkis, her mother, and other female members of their family were brutally raped by a few men. A man from the mob snatched Bilkis daughter from her and smashed her daughter on the stone. Out of the 17 family members of Bilkis, eight were found dead (including her daughter) and others went missing. She survived because she was left unconscious and the mob thought she was dead.According to the media sources, after almost three hours, she regained consciousness. She found herself naked, she then covered her body with a petticoat and escaped to a nearby hillock. The next day of the incident, while she was looking for water, she reached a hand pump where an Adivasi woman gave her some clothes to cover her body.Bilkis then spotted a police officer nearby and approached him for help. The police officer took her to the Limkheda Police Station. On reaching the police station, she gave her statement to the Police Head Constable, Somabhai Gori.Bilkis was the single witness to the incident, and she knew the names of the accused as most of the men were from her village. The head constable did not register her complaint and sent her to a relief camp, where she reunited with her husband. Later, while talking to the reporters, Bilkis husband talked about the incident, he said, I put everything asidethe riots, the family we had lost. I spoke to her with love, I tried to bring her out of the pain she had endured. Since then, I have heard Bilkis testify a million times, to NGO workers, to lawyers, to journalists, but I have never asked herwhat happened to you? Who did what? You have heard the words too, but every time, I have felt them in my heart. An old photo of Bilkis Bano.After reaching the relief camp, Bilkis had a medical examination, and her case was taken by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The Supreme Court transferred her case to the CBI. Initially, the CBI tried to search for the dead members of her family, but most of the killed people were beheaded. So, it became difficult to identify her family members.

Performance Details

7

Off Stage Members

1

Performing Members

60-90 Min

Performance Duration

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Nationwide

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