Upper-caste killer of India’s ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi sentenced to life in prison

Published: August 14, 2014

Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi


Picture 1 of 7

FILE- An April 28,1998 file photo of India's famous "Bandit Queen" Phoolan Devi, in Mumbai, India. The upper-caste killer of Devi was sentenced to life in prison by a court on Thursday, Aug.14, 2014 for gunning down the outlaw-turned-legislator who was idolized as a champion of the lower castes. (AP Photo/Sherwin Crasto, File)

PATRICK REEVELL
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW DELHI — The upper-caste killer of India’s “Bandit Queen” was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for gunning down the outlaw-turned-legislator who was idolized as a champion of the lower castes.

Phoolan Devi roamed central India’s desolate valleys in the 1970s and 1980s, claiming to have robbed and killed landowners who were exploiting poor, landless farmers. After surrendering and serving 11 years in prison, she became a member of Parliament in 1996.

She was still a lawmaker in 2001 when she was killed outside her New Delhi house in what police say was a revenge attack by a trio of upper-caste men.

On Thursday, Judge Bharat Parashar sentenced Sher Singh Rana to life and fined him 100,000 rupees ($1,650) for the murder. Rana’s relatives immediately said he would appeal.

Rana, 38, was convicted last week of murder and conspiracy after a 10-year trial. Ten others accused of involvement in the shooting were acquitted, including Rana’s brother. The judge said there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

“Why have you convicted only me?” Rana asked the judge after Friday’s verdict. “How can I alone commit the murder?”

Witnesses at the time of the killing said two men shot Devi before fleeing in a car driven by an accomplice.

Phoolan Devi’s sister, Rukmani, told reporters outside the court Thursday that she was not satisfied with the acquittals and would demand a new trial.

The slaying is widely seen as part of a revenge cycle fought out between upper and lower castes. When he was arrested in 2001, Rana told police he had killed Devi to avenge the 1981 massacre of 21 high-caste men. Devi said she had killed the men because they had gang-raped her.

Devi was a mythic hero to India’s lower castes. A member of the “boatmen” clan, she became a bandit at 16 when she was kidnapped by the gang she eventually led. Over 70 cases for murder, kidnapping and extortion were pending against her when she died.

Her life inspired dozens of books, films and even an opera. She became widely known to Western audiences through the 1994 film “Bandit Queen.” But Devi disliked it, saying the film depicted her as “a sniveling woman.”

Devi’s killer has become a minor cult figure as well, hailed by some members of his Thakkur warrior caste for the shooting. On Thursday, about 50 young men, many sporting flashy gold chains and curled moustaches, huddled outside the court in support of Rana.

“He’s a tiger,” one cried out after the verdict.

09:03ET 14-08-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh

Ask One Surrey’s Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh how they will fight crime in the city

  VANCOUVER DESI Crime is the number one issue in Surrey municipal elections. Vancouver Desi will chat with two cops — Merv Bayda and Kal…
Continue Reading »

WORLD WAR I

Surrey resident says the involvement of Sikh soldiers in WWI has not been taught in schools

KRISTI ALEXANDRA SURREY NOW SURREY — Coming up on the hundredth anniversary of the First World War this Remembrance Day, images of poppies, Canadian maple…
Continue Reading »

California-India-Sikh massacre

India’s 1984 Sikh massacre arises as issue in contested California congressional race

FENIT NIRAPPIL THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Anger around a 30-year-old religious clash in India that left thousands dead has crept into one of…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Nepal closes popular trekking route where 38 died in snowstorms after new climbers set out

By Binaj Gurubacharya THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepalese officials closed a section of a popular Himalayan trekking route Sunday after rescuers, overwhelmed with…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Oct. 19

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Oct. 19: On this date: In 1216, King John of England died after consuming what was described…
Continue Reading »

Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh

Ask One Surrey’s Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh how they will fight crime in the city

  VANCOUVER DESI Crime is the number one issue in Surrey municipal elections. Vancouver Desi will chat with two cops — Merv Bayda and Kal…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

MINOR ATACKED

False confession leads police to arrest new suspect in sexual assault of 9-year-old Surrey girl

FRANK LUBA VANCOUVER DESI A man who confessed to the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Surrey has been released and a 28-year-old man…
Continue Reading »

Dilwali Fest

Diwali Fest kicks off with IndiGlam fashion-fusion show (w/ video)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It was a classic mother-daughter argument that propelled Surrey’s Raji Khaira into a career of fashion design. Khaira, 25, grew up…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi

Canada Place caught the eye of man who builds models in chalk (w/gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Jagdeep Singh Bihal moved to Vancouver from India two years ago and did some sightseeing around the city,  it was…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-VANCOUVER-MUMBAI

Diwali organizer inspired by memories of Mumbai revelry

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver’s Rohit Chokhani can still recall his childhood in Mumbai when Indian streets would light up with fireworks and life would…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-PIRATE RADIO

Surrey’s unlicensed Radio India to cease broadcasting in 120 days

PETER O’NEIL POSTMEDIA NEWS GATINEAU, Que. — One of B.C.’s “Pirate Radio” broadcasters boasted earlier this month of his powerful political connections, a vast public…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: 20 Bollywood celebrities in their best and worst avatars

VANCOUVER DESI Every Bollywood star has come under fire for their style choices at  some point in their careers. Here we’ve taken a quick look…
Continue Reading »

reality TV

Himesh Reshammiya to record songs with reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ contestants

IANS Mumbai – Composer Himesh Reshammiya, who made an appearance on the reality TV show “India’s Raw Star” as a guest mentor, was so moved…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Bollywood role came without any effort: Jennifer Winget

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – Like many of her peers from television, Jennifer Winget is ready to move to the big screen. However, unlike…
Continue Reading »