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January 10, 2002
1508 IST

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Government extends financial help to Bhanwari Devi

The Rajasthan government has decided to grant financial aid to Bhanwari Devi, who was allegedly gang-raped by high-caste villagers for opposing child-marriage in the state.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced the allotment of residential plot to Bhanwari Devi and a grant of Rs 40,000 for construction of a dwelling on it, an official spokesman said in Jaipur on Thursday.

He also sanctioned an additional Rs 10,000 towards the education of her son.

Gehlot, who met Bhanwari Devi on Wednesday heard her woes and the indignities she suffered while serving as a saathin (volunteer) under a government-sponsored project in 1992.

Bhanwari Devi, whose real-life story inspired director Jagmohan Mundra to produce the film Bawandar, was allegedly gang-raped in village Bhateri in Jaipur district by upper caste villagers for opposing the practice of child-marriage in September 1992.

In 1995, the Jaipur sessions court acquitted all the five accused giving them the benefit of doubt. The state went in to appeal against this judgment and the case is pending before the high court.

RELATED REPORT:
The Bawandar review

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