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Hindu widow saved 10 Muslims in Bihar riots

A Hindu woman who saved lives of 10 Muslims in this village in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district during the recent clashes in which five people died is being hailed as a hero, officials said.

Shail Devi, a frail widow in her early 50s, risking her own life, gave shelter to her Muslim neighbours when a mob of more than 5,000 people attacked Azizpur Bahilwara village after a 20-year-old Hindu boy’s body was found on Sunday.

He was allegedly abducted and killed over his love affair with a Muslim girl.

“I provided shelter to my Muslim neighbours to save their lives because the mob could have killed them,” Shail said on Wednesday morning.

Shail, a poor woman fighting for her survival like many others in this village, told a news agency that she along with her two daughters stood guard outside her house when a mob was targeting Muslims in the village. She told them that it was a house of a ‘Mallah’ (fisherman).

“I lied to rioters that I had not given shelter to Muslims in my house. Though some people tried to enter my house but I stopped them and they returned,” she said.

Shail, widow of late Jaglal Sahni, has become a household name in the village and neighbouring villages for her rare example of communal harmony.

“She has proved again that humanity is still alive, we are proud of her,” Arvind Kumar, a villager, said.

Ash Mohammad, a man in his 60s, who was one of the ten Muslims whose lives were saved by Shail, told a news agency that she is like ‘farishta’ (angel) to them.

“Shail was like god-sent angel to us...,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad admitted that all of them could have been killed if Shail had not given shelter to them.
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