(This article is authored by Alar)
Prakash Raj, an actor, producer, and director who is also well known for his political commentary, occasionally taunts politics on social media using the hashtag #justasking. His most recent remark about the 11 murderers who were recently freed and were complicit in the devastating 2002 Gujarat Riot caused a stir. He claims, "busy garlanding and felicitating RAPISTS. Is this your #AmritKaal?". Amritkaal is a term strongly addressed in Prime Minister's independence day speech in 2022 August 15, meaning astrogically as a new venture or new beginning.
During the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, a Hindu mob raped and murdered 14 members of the Bilkis Bano family. On Monday, 11 prisoners serving life sentences for rape and murder were released in connection with that case. They were welcomed with garlands and treated with comfort. Many political figures and social activists spoke out against this act of injustice. Actor Prakash Raj joins the protest by asking, "While Supreme leader is busy congratulating gold medal winners … his men are busy garlanding and felicitating RAPISTS .. is this your #AmritKaal #Justasking"
Meanwhile, The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemned the murderers' release, and said "USCIRF strongly condemns the early and unjustified release of 11 men sentenced to life in prison for raping a pregnant Muslim woman and committing murder against Muslim victims during the 2002 Gujarat Riots." The Commissioner of USCIRF, Stephen Schneck added, "The failure to hold accountable perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat Riots who committed physical & sexual violence is a travesty of justice. It's part of a pattern of impunity in India for those engaged in violence against religious minorities."