Bihar honours guardian angel

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:20 pm IST

Published - January 21, 2015 01:30 pm IST - Patna

Taking note of the story carried in The Hindu on January 20, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday honoured Shail Devi, an elderly woman who had saved many lives of the minority community during an attack on Azizpur village in Muzaffarpur on Sunday. Shail Devi’s is the lone Hindu family living in the village.

The Chief Minister visited the village on Wednesday morning to meet the villagers and honoured Shail Devi for her commendable deed. “The chief minister honoured Shail Devi with a certificate, a shawl and Rs. 51,000 for her exemplary deed of saving so many lives during the attack on the villagers”, Dilip Kumar Deo, an official accompanying Mr. Manjhi told The Hindu .

On her request, the Chief Minister also asked officials to provide Rs. 20,000 each to two school going daughters of Shail Devi for their education from the CM’s relief fund. She would also be getting a pucca house under Indira Awas Yojna, said the official.

Earlier, after visiting the village The Hindu had published a profile story under caption “ >She was their Guardian angel ” on Shail Devi on Tuesday.

When hundreds of armed men from the neighbouring Bahilwara Rupnath Uttari village raided a minority village Azizpur in which at least three people were charred to death while one’s body was found in the nearby field next day, Shail Devi gave shelter to over 20 villagers, including women and children, in a corner room of her thatched house.

She had put all of them under the wooden cot and placed grain sacks over it to misguide the violent mob. The villagers had attacked Azizpur in retaliation of the body of a youth, Bhartendu Sahni, of their village was found from mustard field near the village mosque.

Shail Devi’s husband Jai Lal Sahni, a construction labourer, died few years ago and she was living in the village with her two school-going daughters and a son, working in Muzaffarpur town.

“When the rampaging mob attacked our village and I immediately gave shelter to at least 20 fleeing villagers in a room of my house and locked it up from outside”, Shail Devi told The Hindu while showing the dingy room and the wooden cot under which she had put them all.

Thereafter, she said, she came outside and started screaming while requesting the attackers that she was a Hindu and should not be attacked.

“Someone from them shouted she comes from their own community and they left me without any harm”, she said.

However, after the incident she started fearing for her own and her two daughter’s lives as she apprehended further target from members of her community for giving shelter to members of the minority community.

“If she would not have given us the shelter at that time we all would have been killed”, sexagenarian Aash Mohammed told The Hindu on Monday. Aash Mohammed along with her daughter-in-law Khairu Khatun had hid themselves in Shail Devi’s home to escape the violent wrath of the mob.

Now, after the Chief Minister honoured her for her courageous and exemplary deed, Shail Devi has become a talk of the town.

“It’s all because of Him up there that I could muster courage to save human lives…had I done wrong?”, asked Shail Devi while pointing her fingers towards sky.

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