MALDA, 21 JUNE: Mrs Shampa Saha, widow of Shankar Saha, who was gunned down by militants last year at Meidaguri town in Nigeria, has been reeling under acute uncertainty concerning the future of her three-year-old daughter and bed-ridden father and mother-in-law.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel, with the Malda District Magistrate Mr Godala Kiran Kumar, and the district Trinamul Congress general secretary Ms Debapriya Saha, pledging to extend a helping hand after a report on her plight appeared in The Statesman.
Militants belonging to Nigeria&’s notorious ‘Boka Haram’ group gunned down Mrs Saha&’s husband Shankar, who was working in a gum production company at Meidaguri town of Borno state in Nigeria on 26 July 2012. A Bangladeshi citizen Bakul Mandal was killed in the attack as well. Mrs Saha, along with her three-year-old daughter Dia, fled Nigeria after the incident, leaving behind all her valuables. The company, for which her husband was working as a service manager, paid her only the air-fare.
The sudden killing of her husband made her life difficult as her father and mother-in-law, failing to bear the shock of their only son&’s abrupt death, fell critically ill.
Mrs Saha took refuge with her paralysed father whose garment shop had to be shut down following his prolonged illness. It was only then that she sought some assistance from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in writing.
Though some enquiries were made from the office of the chief minister, the reports of which are said to have substantiated Mrs Saha&’s deplorable state, she was of late reportedly informed over the phone informally that she would get no government aid. Although the refusal shattered her world, yet she preferred to retain hope of getting the chief minister&’s benevolent intervention to tide over of her catastrophe.
After The Statesman carried a report on 21 June, the District Magistrate Mr Godala Kiran Kumar, whom the widow has approached, said: “It is really tragic. We have heard she is student of post-graduation in Philosophy. If she successfully attains her degree, we think she would get a job. If she still insists, we will see whether she could be engaged in some contractual service for the time being,” the DM said.