''Gulabi Gang'' says fight not yet over

Sangita Bakaya

Lucknow, Jan 16 (PTI) Taking up the cudgels for theminor dalit girl, allegedly raped by a BSP MLA, a group ofpink-sari clad women who have been holding demonstrationsunder the banner of "Gulabi Gang" to highlight her plight saytheir fight is still not over despite the legislator''s arrest.

A determined Sampat Pal (48), whose group oflathi-wielding women is fighting against discrimination andatrocities in the Bundelkhand region for a decade now, took upthe cause of the dalit girl after her relatives claimed thatshe had been framed in a false theft case.

Sampat claimed she was offered a bribe of Rs five lakhand promised several development works in her village by MLAPurshottam Naresh Dwiwedi if she dropped the agitation.

"The fight is still not over... her (girl''s) family isliving in fear in their Shahzadpur village and we want tohelp," he said, adding that the accomplices of the MLA werestill moving about freely.

"After we came to know that she had been framed in acase of theft in the house which is guarded like a fortress,we organised the first protest in Banda and later at the houseof the MLA where she was raped and beaten up," she said.

"The girl told me how the MLA told her to marry oneof his servants so that he could continue with his misdeedswithin the confines of his house," she alleged.

Alleging that the jailor of the district prison wherethe victim had been lodged did not allow any of her familymembers as well as her sympathisers to meet her, Sampatalleged that "the MLA''s cronies were free to go and threatenher anytime".

The group is now planning an agitation to press foraction against the erring police personnel.

Sampat said the group held demonstrations all over thedistrict to draw the attention of the media, politicians andlocal people.

"The anger of the local people was against not onlyDwivedi but also the government and had the MLA not beenarrested it could have become a major problem," she said.

"We have offered to give shelter to the girl and helpher complete her education or else she could be subjected tofurther exploitation," Sampat said.

It has also offered to provide security to the girl.

"If she wants, she can join the Gulabi Gang," saidSampat.

"We will provide complete security to her," she said,adding, "we will stage a massive agitation in case anyonetries to harass her."

Dwivedi and his two aides have been arrested while onof the accused is absconding.

Sampat claimed the group has over 1.4 lakh members andhas spread its activities in districts other than theBundelkhand region.

"We have activists in Mahoba, Orai, Fatehpur, Kanpur,Farrukhabad, Etawah besides other districts of the state whofight for the powerless," she said.


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