Gulabi Gang splits, Sampat Pal dethroned

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 4, 2014, 4:19 pm IST
Updated Jan 15, 2016, 10:45 am IST
Gang members have accused Pal of turning social group into political.
Sampat Pal. Photo: Sampat Pal Devi Facebook page.
 Sampat Pal. Photo: Sampat Pal Devi Facebook page.

 

Lucknow: Exactly four days before the release of ‘Gulab Gang’, a film that is supposedly based on Bundelkhand’s Gulabi Gang, trouble has begun brewing in the pink vigilante group. Accusing Gulabi Gang leader Sampat Pal of being authoritarian and sacrificing interests of the movement for her personal political ambitions, the Gulabi Gang has formally split.

 

 

Ms Suman Singh has been appointed the new acting commander of the group and a resolution to this effect was passed at a general body meeting of the Gulabi Gang held in Attara in Bundelkhand. The members of the Gulabi Gang have been up in arms against their own leader Sampat Pal, 51, and have been accusing her of turning the social group into a political one.

 

National convener of the Gulabi Gang, Jai Prakash Shivharey, said that Sampat Pal had started ‘straying’ from the goals of the Gulabi gang and was forgetting the purpose for which the pink vigilante group was formed in 2006.

 

“Of late, she has become publicity crazy and has political ambitions of her own. The Gulabi Gang was formed to combat domestic violence, crime against women, corruption and inequality but Sampat Pal began using the organization to attain political power for herself. She contested the 2012 assembly elections without informing us and then went to the ‘Bigg Boss’ show on her own,” said Shivharey and added that Sampat Pal was pressuring other members of the group to campaign for the Congress.

 

There are also charges that Sampat Pal has siphoned off donations made to the Gulabi gang by various sources and the amount is to the tune of Rs 1.5 crores. Gulabi Gang members have been keen on initiating action against the makers of ‘Gulab Gang’ for making the film on their story without seeking permission or paying them compensation.

 

“Sampat Pal is quiet on this issue and we suspect that she may have taken money from the film makers without informing us,’ said a member of the group.

 

Sampat Pal did not respond to calls and made herself unavailable for comment. Ironically, it was Sampat Pal who had formed the Gulabi Gang in Bundelkhand and had roped in housewives from the rural interiors to join the movement and fight for their rights. Sampat Pal attained international acclaim for her work and two films on her life – ‘Gulabi Gang’ and ‘Gulab Gang’ are on the verge of release.

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