Former woman bandit to contest Panchayat polls in UP

Kanpur (UP), April 7 (IANS) Surekha Diwakar, a former woman bandit and wife of slain dacoit Pahelwan a.k.a. Salim Gurjar, has announced that she will contest for the post of village head in the upcoming panchayat elections in Etawah.

Surekha will be contesting from Badanpura village in Sahson area.

Surekha has had spent 14 years in jail after she was arrested from a government hospital in Bhind (Madhya Pradesh) where she had been admitted for a delivery.

She faced trial for nearly 63 criminal cases in Bhind (Madhya Pradesh) Orai and Etawah. She has been acquitted in many of the ace and was finally released from jail in 2018.

“My father, Devi Charan, was a village ‘chowkidar’. On March 12, 1999, I was kidnapped by dreaded dacoit Salim Gurjar who suspected him to be a police informer. I was then just 13 years old and studying in class 5,” she said.

Salim later married her and lived with her in the ravines of Chambal till he was killed in an encounter with police in 2006.

“I am back and want to help the weaker sections. I am teaching young girls how to stitch and want them to be self-reliant. If people help me win this election, I will work and fight for them. Everyone knows that I have been a victim of circumstances,” she told reporters.

Surekha is hopeful of her electoral prospects.

“There are others like me – Phoolan Devi, for instance-who joined politics and have worked for the people,” she said.

Surekha said she had already started canvassing and is getting good support from locals.

Similarly, another female bandit, Seema Parihar, also was inclined towards politics but could not achieve much.

Seema supported the Shiv Sena in the 2002 UP assembly elections in 2002 and the joined the Indian Justice Party in 2006. Two years later, she moved to the Lok Janshakti Party and is now working as a conservationist in her home town.