Bandit Queen’s killer jailed: Life in prison for man found guilty of gunning down outlaw-turned-legislator who was champion of India's lower castes

Relatives of Sher Singh Rana say he will appeal the sentence

Delhi

The upper-caste killer of India’s “Bandit Queen” has been sentenced to life in prison for gunning down the outlaw-turned-legislator who was idolised 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 home 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 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 killed the men because they 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.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links