‘Bandit Queen’ who later took to politics

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2014 00:22 IST

Phoolan Devi was born on August 10, 1963, in Ghura Ka Purwa, Uttar Pradesh.

At the age of 11, Phoolan was forced into marriage a 35 year-old widower, Putti Lal. She left him in 1975 after suffering sexual and physical abuse at his hands.

In 1979, Phoolan was arrested for having interfered in her father’s land dispute case. She spent a month locked in during which she was raped and beaten by police personnel.

After her release she was abducted by a gang of bandits abducted of which she became a member. In 1981, Phoolan acquired a new gang and they went into Behmai village where 20 men, reportedly belonging to upper caste and had allegedly gangraped her, were lined up and shot.

The UP police put a price of over Rs 5 lakh on Phoolan’s head and in February 1983, she agreed to surrender on the terms that her death penalty be lifted, her gang members be released after 8 years, her brother get a government job, and her father receive a plot of land. She was released on parole 1994.

She won the general election with a ticket from Samajwadi Party in 1996 from the Mirzapur constituency. She was re-elected as an MP in 1999.

On July 25, 2001, Phoolan was gunned down in front of her residence in New Delhi.

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