Shail Devi, a widowed mother of two challenged all odds to save the lives of 11 minority community members during the violence at Ajizpur village in the district, prompting Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to dub her as ‘Rani Lakhshmi Bai’.
Devi, who received a cheque of Rs 51,000 and a commendation letter from Manjhi recognizing her “selfless act”, said humanity prompted her to give shelter to the 11 minority community members during the arson in Ajizpur village, that claimed four lives.
In an exemplary show of bravery, she locked the door of her hamlet where she had hidden the 11 people against marauders from the neighboring village who attacked residents of Ajizpur and burnt homes after a youth’s body was recovered on Sunday.
“I locked the door and sat in front of my house with my two minor daughters and when the attackers asked me about them I lied saying that no one was there,” the 59-year-old woman told.
Refusing to bow to the attackers who threatened her with dire consequences if she was found to be lying, the woman did not allow rampaging mob to enter her hamlet.
“How could I see the same people, with whom I interact daily, go up in flames? Thats when I decided to rescue them,” Devi said narrating about the difficult times.
Devi had lost her husband, a daily wager, about five years back, and is residing in the hut with her two daughters– Anita (14) and Sangeeta (13).
Her bravery was noticed by Manjhi during his visit to Ajizpur on Wednesday who compared her with legendary Rani Lakhshmi Bai of Jhansi, who had fought against Britishers during 1857 revolt.
“Shail Devi has done a very commendable job. She showed courage like Rani Lakshmi bai and saved so many people. She has become a role model to the society and she should be worshiped,” Manjhi said.