India's Pink Gang Are VigilantesBy Anuj Chopra
BANDA DISTRICT, INDIA --On a hot afternoon, a throng of two dozen women clad in candy-pink saris gathered beneath the cool shade of a gnarled banyan tree. They listened with rapt attention as a sinewy but robust woman they called "commander" delivered a military-type briefing. "To face down men in this part of the world, you have to use force," she said. "We function in a man's world where men make all the rules. Our fight is against injustice."
The "commander" is Sampat Pal, the 47-year-old leader of thousands of female vigilantes known as the Gulabi (Pink) Gang. Since its inception three years ago in a lawless area of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, women from some 600 villages have joined the group, wielding heavy clubs and and traditional bamboo batons, called lathis, used by police for crowd control to "convince" wife beaters, rapists and corrupt bureaucrats to change their ways. ...
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