Phoolan Devi, the outlaw-turned-lawmaker portrayed in the movie "Bandit Queen," was assassinated yesterday outside her New Delhi home. Forced to marry at the age of 12, Devi fled her abusive husband and then joined a gang of outlaws who robbed from members of the upper castes and protected the lower castes, especially women. After Devi was kidnapped and gang raped in 1980 by the land owners of Behmai, Deviís gang returned to the village and murdered 22 upper caste men. In 1994, Deviís story was mythologized in the movie "Bandit Queen." Her story of fighting gender and caste oppression through brutal crime was controversial.
For the past six years, Devi served in the Indian parliament as a representative of the Samajvadi Party. While some have speculated that her murderers were avenging the Behmai killings, they may have been politically motivated as well. Samajvadi Party leader Amar Singh remarked, "There seems to be a political design behind her killing, as it comes hardly a few months before the elections."
Media Resources: The Washington Post, July 26; The New York Times, July 26
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .