Unknown women awarded for bravery in Bengal

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 08, 2013 15:50 hrs

Kolkata, March 8 (IANS) Little-known brave women who stood up for their rights were felicitated here Friday on International Women's Day.

Shabana braved repeated attacks by her sword-wielding brother-in-law Mehtab Alam as she tried to save her sister-in-law Niloufar. Alam wanted to kill his wife Niloufer as he suspected her of having an extra-marital affair.

Shabana failed to save Niloufer, who was beheaded by Alam. In the fight, Shabana was stabbed repeatedly and lost a finger.

The incident was reported late last year at Nadial in South 24 Parganas district and drew the attention of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission and the state government.

Shabana was presented Rs.15,000 in absentia at a programme. Her two minor children attended the event as she is still undergoing treatment at a renowned state government hospital.

Sharmila Murmu, a resident of Memari in Burdwan district, was a higher secondary examination candidate last year. A day before her philosophy paper, she gave birth and went to the examination centre with the baby.

As Murmu wrote out her answer paper at the Debipur Station girls' school, the milk of human kindness prompted the institution's teacher Baisakhi Roy - also a new mother - to breastfeed Murmu's baby.

Both Murmu and Roy were feted at the function in the presence of women's development and social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra and child development minister Shyamapada Mukherjee.

Panchami Burman, a 75 percent mentally challenged girl of Santrabad village in East Midnapore district, is equally deft in table tennis, swimming, hockey and athletics. She represented India in the floor hockey event at the January-February Special Olympics in Pyongyang, North Korea. India bagged the gold and Burman was adjudged the best player in the final.

Krishna Roy is a 43-year-old Kolkata woman who is 100 percent physically challenged. Roy's indomitable spirit has triumphed despite her husband deserting her and lack of any permanent shelter and a steady income. She gives free tuitions to poor children and takes music lessons from two leading singers.

The sixth awardee was Chandra Rajbhar of Liluah in Howrah district. On Dec 31, 2012, while she was going to a coaching class, a youth tried to molest her. She caught him and started shouting. The molester was caught by locals and handed over to police.

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