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Dumped years back, wounded now

Lucknow, July 25: Seema Parihar’s dacoit husband is jealous even though they have been separated for long.

Nirbhay Singh Gujjar, who still lords over large swathes of the Chambal ravines, is angry that an upcoming film based on the new former bandit queen’s life may undermine his claim to be her only husband.

Only he should figure as her husband in the film, Wounded; otherwise its exhibition anywhere in Uttar Pradesh would be disrupted, Nirbhay’s gang has threatened.

The film’s claim to fame is that it is the first in which a former dacoit plays out her real life. Seema, out on bail from Kanpur central jail and courted by several parties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, plays the lead.

“I am a dacoit today because of Seema Parihar. Yet I hear that in the film Lalaram has been shown as her husband. This distortion would surely affect me, the society in my district and everyone who is related to me,” Nirbhay recently told a group of reporters from Lucknow.

Seema, 32, was married to backward-caste Nirbhay but later lived as a mistress of Lalaram, an upper-caste dacoit. Lalaram was killed in a police encounter in 2000 but Seema never returned to Nirbhay. The mother of a 12-year-old boy Sagar, Seema does not reveal his father’s identity.

Nirbhay, wanted in at least 150 cases and carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head, is so keen on his share of Chambal history that his gang is distributing leaflets in Jalone, Etawah and Aaraiya districts of Uttar Pradesh.

The leaflets tell the tale of his relationship with Seema and Lalaram’s role in forcibly “keeping” her after throwing Nirbhay out of the gang.

The film, however, is based on Seema’s account of her life and is believed to be different from what Nirbhay has to say.

Seema had told the film unit, led by director Krishna Mishra, that she was abducted by Fakkad Baba’s men in 1986 and handed to Lalaram’s gang, of which Nirbhay was a member.

She thus came to know Nirbhay and married him at Lalaram’s behest. Later, after the two men fell out with each other, Lalaram — who Seema said was 20 years older than her — married her.

Nirbhay, however, has a more romantic take on the tale. He recalled meeting Seema in the early 1980s when he was still a petty criminal.

She lived in Babain village of Etawah, adjacent to his village in Gangadagpur. “Friendship ripened into love and I eloped with her as our relation would not be recognised by society,” said Nirbhay, a backward-caste man. Seema is a Thakur.

“Lalaram gave us shelter and arranged our marriage at Kandara temple in Ajitmal police station area of Etawah district,” Nirbhay recalled.

“He is the one who conducted kanyadaan (giving daughter’s hand in marriage). Fakkad Baba alias Ramashray Tiwari acted as the priest. Later, I was kicked out of the gang and Lalaram claimed to have married her. Is this marriage'” Nirbhay asked.

He claimed that subsequently he tried to kill Lalaram several times but failed. Today, Nirbhay has 21 men and five women in his gang that is believed to be equipped with the most sophisticated weapons.

“We have been receiving messages, through persons, from Nirbhay about his annoyance over the Lalaram episode,” Mishra said from Mumbai. The film, he said, shows Nirbhay’s marriage with Seema but also depicts how she was forced to live for long as Lalaram’s mistress.

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