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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Ailing, old, waiting to die
- Dumped by brothers, 73-year-old on platform

Mira Moitra, 73, is 'waiting for death' on a bench in platform no. 1 of Birati railway station. Ailing and abandoned, she has nowhere to go.

She cannot walk without crutches, but even the props are of little use now. She has eaten nothing since Sunday morning and is too weak to move. 'If I eat, I have to go to the toilet, and there are no toilets in the station,' said Mira.

A spinster, the woman does not have a home she can call her own. She has brothers living close by, but they have turned her out.

Since last November (she was not specific where she was before that), Mira had been staying with younger brother Sushanta in Majherhat, Birati. But the brother's family showed her the door last Sunday morning.

Seeing her wandering and realising that she had nowhere to go, a local resident brought her to the station.

'I do not want to return home as nobody wants me alive. I have gone through enough bitterness in life and now I just want to die in peace' I do not want to bother my brothers and sisters-in-law any more,' she said, choking on her tears.

Local residents had gone to Sushanta's house to urge him to take back his sister. They were allegedly shooed out.

When contacted, Sushanta's wife Aparna said they were in no position to support Mira. 'My husband used to work in a public sector undertaking that closed down 15 years ago. Whatever he saved is being used to run the family, as my son is yet to find a job. We even have to seek help from our son-in-law.'

The residents then turned to Aparna's maternal uncle Naba Banerjee, an influential local CPM leader. 'No matter what you do, I will not let that woman (Mira) stay in my sister's house,' he told them.

Sensing trouble at Sushanta's place, Mira had gone to elder brother Santosh's house in Durganagar last Friday. Being refused refuge there, she returned to Birati the next day, only to be driven out a few hours later. Mira has a sister living in north Bengal, but does not know her address.

Officers of Nimta police station ' where Aparna had lodged a missing diary ' have refused to act, as the case is under the GRP's jurisdiction. The GRP is not unduly worried about Mira, as she is not causing any trouble. And the station authorities could not be bothered.

'Her days are numbered,' said doctor Gautam Dutta Sharma, who visited her a few days ago at the behest of some local residents.

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