All 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case surrendered at Godhra Sub Jail in Gujarat's Panchmahal district on Sunday evening as the deadline issued by the Supreme Court ended today.
The convicts arrived at Godhra Sub Jail at 11:30 from Singwad Randhikpur in two private vehicles late at night.
"All 11 convicts have surrendered before jail authorities late Sunday night," a local Crime Branch inspector NL Desai told news agency PTI.
On January 8, the Supreme Court had annulled the remission the Gujarat government granted to the convicts in the rape case during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, terming the move a "fraud act" and ruling that the state government was "not competent enough" to pass such an order.
The bench of justices BV Nagarthana and Ujjal Bhuyan ordered the convicts, who were released prematurely on Independence Day in 2022, to go back to jail within two weeks. The court also noted that this was a classic case where the order of this court was used to violate the rule of law by granting remission.
The convicts then sought additional time to surrender before jail authorities, citing varied reasons. The court, on Friday, dismissed the petitions and ordered them to surrender before the jail authorities by January 21 as per the original deadline set by the court.
The 11 convicts are Bakabhai Vohania, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Govind Nai, Jaswant Nai, Mitesh Bhatt, Pradeep Mordhiya, Radheshyam Shah, Rajubhai Soni, Ramesh Chandana and Shailesh Bhatt.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while trying to escape the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident in February 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.