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Phoolan Devi sticker

Phoolan Devi sticker

Phoolan Devi "What other people call a crime, I call justice"

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Phoolan Devi (Hindi: फूलन देवी, Phūlan Dēvi) (10 August 1963 – 25 July 2001), popularly known as "Bandit Queen", was an Indian bandit and later a politician. Born to a low caste family in rural Uttar Pradesh, Devi's early years were characterised by numerous incidents of sexual abuse, followed by a criminal career she later became known for.

At the age of 18 Devi was gang-raped by high-caste bandits after the gang she was part of was ambushed by rivals. As a result of this incident she became a gang leader in her own right and sought revenge. In 1981 Devi and her gang returned to the village where she had been raped and 22 Thakur caste villagers, including two of her rapists, were rounded up and executed.

The press portrayed the Behmai massacre as an act of righteous lower-caste rebellion and Devi herself as an oppressed feminist Robin Hood. Indian police authorities argue that there is no recorded instance of Devi helping those in need.

Devi and surviving gang members evaded capture for 2 years before surrendering in 1983. She was charged for 48 crimes, including murder, plunder, arson and kidnapping for ransom.  After 11 years pending trial, the state government withdrew all charges against her and she was released in 1994. She then ran for election as a candidate of the Samajwadi Party and was elected to parliament.



In 2001 Devi was assassinated in New Delhi by a trio of upper-caste men. The 1994 film Bandit Queen is loosely based on her life.

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