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Bilkis appears before court for in-camera deposition

February 21, 2005 17:21 IST

Bilkis Bano, who was gang-raped when she was six months pregnant and was a witness to the killings and rapes of her family and community members during the Gujarat riots in 2001, deposed for an in-camera trial on Monday in response to summons issued by a special court in Mumbai.

Special public prosecutor R K Shah examined her. The accused -- seven of them -- were not brought to the court in view of shortage of police officials due to Muharram, defence lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar said.

Bilkis had failed to appear before the court on two occasions and fresh summons was served to her recently, said Shah.

The accused -- six police officers and a doctor, Sangeeta Prasad, who conducted the post-mortem on the victims -- pleaded for bail saying that another accused, Dr Arun Prasad (Sangeeta's husband) was out on bail.

The court then asked the prosecution to file its reply on their bail plea.

Both sides had sought time till Monday to study whether Sangeeta was medically fit to stand trial.

The court had earlier said that Sangeeta -- charged with fabricating Bilkis's medical records -- would be tried separately as she was under treatment. However, a recent checkup proved that she was fit.

Bilkis's Tragedy

The conspiracy was hatched between February 28, 2002 and March 3, 2002.

The 20 accused allegedly attacked 17 Muslims in their village. Eight died and six were reported missing. Three -- Bilkis, master Hussain and Sadaam -- survived.

Six police officers were charged with shielding the guilty while the two doctors were accused of fabricating evidence.

On August 6, 2003, the Supreme Court shifted Bilkis's trial from Ahmedabad to Mumbai on the apprehension of the victim and the Central Bureau of Investigation that witnesses could come to harm if the trial was held in Gujarat.

Earlier reports:

Bilkis fails to appear in court
Charge sheet in Bilkis Bano rape case
Bilkis Bano's tragedy

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The Gujarat Riots: The Complete Coverage

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