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

1INDIA_MODI_218232180

Once shunned by U.S., India’s Modi rides wave of enthusiasm to White House for visit with Obama

JOSH LEDERMAN and DARLENE SUPERVILLE  THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Once shunned by the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is riding a wave…
Continue Reading »

1PNG_0929N_CITY_INQUEST_218232808

Mexican woman sneaked into Canada through bushes, border officer tells coroner’s inquest

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Mexican woman who committed suicide in custody awaiting deportation had sneaked into Canada through the bushes in Surrey, a coroner’s…
Continue Reading »

1WEATHER_EXTREMES_218229168

Some of 2013′s weirdest weather had the fingerprints of man-made climate change, studies show (w/ photos)

SETH BORENSTEIN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

White House: ‘We support the aspirations’ of Hong Kong democracy protesters

By Alexander Panetta THE CANADIAN PRESS WASHINGTON — Foreign governments expressed support Monday for historic protests in Hong Kong despite a pointed warning from the…
Continue Reading »

1PNG_0929N_CITY_INQUEST_218232808

Mexican woman sneaked into Canada through bushes, border officer tells coroner’s inquest

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Mexican woman who committed suicide in custody awaiting deportation had sneaked into Canada through the bushes in Surrey, a coroner’s…
Continue Reading »

maple main

Remembering Maple Batalia: Surrey vigil marks three-year anniversary of SFU student’s slaying

CHERYL CHAN VANCOUVER DESI Three years after the murder of Maple Batalia, friends and family once again lit candles at Holland Park in honour of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

British comedian John Oliver takes aim at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's U.S. visit on his HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube/Screengrab.

British comedian John Oliver again covers Indian politics in HBO show, takes aim at Modi’s U.S. visit (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI British comedian John Oliver has covered Indian politics yet again on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In this…
Continue Reading »

shah-rukh-khan-bn6a4756

Review: Was Shah Rukh Khan’s SLAM! The Tour worth the 3 hour delay in Vancouver?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI After a nearly three-hour delay, Bollywood finally took over Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum Saturday night with a lavish evening of song, dance,…
Continue Reading »

Barbie

Religious groups angry over Barbie as Hindu goddess Kali, Virgin Mary (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Two artists from Argentina have given the legendary Barbie and Ken dolls forms of various religious figurines from Jesus and Mary to Hindu…
Continue Reading »

treatment

Villagers bury woman to cure her after getting ‘shocked’

CEN AGENCY Villagers in India sprung into action after one of their neighbours was suffered a high voltage electric shock – by burying her up…
Continue Reading »

Wedding dress

Gallery: Asian bride hopes to set record with world’s longest wedding dress train

CEN AGENCY A bride is claiming a new world record after commissioning the world’s biggest ever wedding dress for her big day – with an…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Sushmita Sen (L) and Hrithik Roshan (R) will be featured int he upcoming Mytra Fashion Weekend in Mumbai. Getty Images.

Sushmita Sen, Hrithik Roshan to glam up Mumbai’s Myntra Fashion Weekend

IANS Mumbai  – Former beauty queen and actress Sushmita Sen is set to scorch the ramp as showstopper on the opening day of fashion, beauty…
Continue Reading »

Tommy Hilfiger (L) says he is a fan of Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor (R). Getty Images.

Tommy Hilfiger fond of Bollywood films, favours Sonam Kapoor

IANS New Delhi  – American designer Tommy Hilfiger loves to watch Bollywood movies and appreciates the growing fashion quotient in Hindi movies and his favourite…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan’s #BangBangDare to Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has taken a unique approach to promote his upcoming film Bang Bang — a #BangBangDare to his friends in…
Continue Reading »