New Delhi, Aug 8 (): Phoolan Devi, the ‘Bandit Queen-turned-MP’s assassin’ would get a judgement delivered today by Bharat Parashar, the Additional Sessions Judge of Patiala House courts after 13 years.
On July 25, 2001 the MP went from Parliament to her house where a SP MP dropped her. As she opened the gate along with a police constable assigned to her as her security officer, two men sprung up and one shot six bullets into Phoolan Devi and the other shot the constable even before he could reach his gun. The constable fortunately survived and he identified the killer as Rana and his accomplice Vicky. Phoolan Devi’s PS who was eyewitness testified in the court.
Rana claimed that as a kid he saw his kith and kin’s hands tied, taken to the river and shot ruthlessly by the gang of Phoolan Devi who had come to Behmai in search of another gang leader who had killed her lover and then took her away. She was paraded naked and repeatedly raped by the Thakurs in the village. She was rescued by a Brahmin and let off in the jungles. Here she was nursed back to health by an old woman.
She got back to being a dacoit and was given five members from the a gang headed by a Muslim after hearing of her past. Soon she became the subject of folklore. She gave off the loot to the poor and killed the men who tormented women. Her search of Sri Ram the man who killed her lover got near as she had information that the man was hiding in the same village, where she was raped. She and three gangs surrounded the village and searched but could not find her tormentor. She felt that the villagers were hiding him and shot 17 Thakurs point blank.
Rana had plotted the murder and two others took part while 15 others assisted him. Rana ‘s assassination plan was not a kneejerk reaction. He got himself arrested in a previous criminal case in Haridwar and was sent to jail on the same day the murder took place.
Delhi police broke the alibi and told the court that Rana who was arrested by Haridwar police was in reality his servant. In 2004, a policeman from Haridwar came with a court order saying that Rana was needed for a trial. Rana was handed over to the police party.
Delhi police later realized that it was a fake policeman and that another dacoit, a Thakur, in Haridwar jail had bankrolled the operation. He escaped to Dhaka and got a passport in the name of Sanjay and then travelled to Kabul and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He said that his visit to Afghanistan was to bring the remains of Rajput King Prithiviraj Chouhan back to India. He also visited Dubai. Finally he was picked up at Kolkata in 2006.
Phoolan Devi’s mother is still living in a world of nostalgia. The villagers where the Bandit Queen was born feel that if she had been alive, the Mallah caste, the most marginalized in UP, would have been better off. Mallah women are making a living by grazing the goats of the rich and men engage in casual labour. The life as a dacoit and her surrender to winning the elections has been chronicled by many and even made into a movie.
Probably it is curtains to the saga of Phoolan Devi the Bandit Queen who caught the imagination of the nation. A five feet woman in Khaki, a sten gun in hand and ammunition belt across her chest with a knife in her hostler, a red bandana tied on her head had crowds delirious when she surrendered to the police as by then she was the Durga who took cudgels for the lower caste women and struck terror in the hearts of the feudal Thakurs.