Bundelkhand's Gulabi Gang splits, founder shown the door

Eight years after its formation to fight injustice against women and protection of their rights, the “Gulabi Gang” has split with its founder-commander Sampat Pal.

The lathi-wielding gang of women vigilantes, that invoked fear among officials and police alike, showed Pal the door for allegedly being “autocratic” and “deviating from principles”.

Pal was on Sunday ousted from the post of commander at a gang meeting at Atarra in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district, about 200 km from here. The meeting was presided over by Gulabi Gang convener Jai Prakash Shivhare.

At the meeting, members accused Pal of taking money from a political party and damaging the interest of the organisation. Pal had contested the 2012 Assembly polls on a Congress ticket from Banda but lost.

Many senior members were unhappy with Pal for her Congress association and had warned her to sever all ties with the party. Some members also charged Pal with trying to promote her family in the organisation.

The splinter group is to hold a meeting on March 23 to elect its new commander. Vice-commander Suman Singh Chauhan will fill Pal’s place till then.

Incidentally, 56-year-old Pal is the founder of the Gulabi Gang, which gained fame for its lathi-wielding members, clad in pink sarees, storming government offices and police stations whenever there was an incident of atrocity against women. The group was active mainly in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh.

The Gulabi Gang soon turned into a huge organisation with thousands of members spread across several districts in the state.

The group is named after the signature pink saree attire of its members. Pal, who herself was a victim of child marriage, had received international attention for her activities and has attended several conferences and seminars overseas.

Bollywood movie “Gulab Gang”, starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla, is said to be based on the activities of the vigilante group and is set to be released later this month.

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