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A fighter who hated girlie jobs

Bhopal, June 16: Susmita Chakraborthy wanted to be an achiever and to be remembered. But the gold medallist who was called “company bahadur” by her friends became the second woman officer of the Indian Army to commit suicide.

At A-162/2 Saket Nagar, her father P.B. Chakraborthy was unable to utter a word. Tears rolled from eyes that were glued to the door, as if waiting for his 25-year-old first-born to arrive.

A lieutenant, Susmita died yesterday after she took the rifle of a guard posted at the army guesthouse in Udhampur, went in and shot herself. She had returned to Udhampur a couple of weeks ago from a two-month leave that she spent at home with her parents and younger brother. Mother Sadhana accompanied her.

Late in the evening, Chakraborthy pulled himself together to speak. Susmita had been feeling low over the work assigned to her and had told her father she hated organising late night parties, arranging transport, welcoming and handing over bouquets to visiting seniors. “She hated the ‘girlish’ assignments that were given to her,” he recalled.

But Chakraborthy does not believe his jovial and effusive daughter could end her life so easily. Nor can her brother, her friends and teachers and the family’s neighbours.

She was always the fighter. Susmita wanted to be a doctor but after she failed to get through the MBBS entrance test, she joined the premier Nutan College and earned a gold medal in her B.Sc. She then sat for the state public service commission exam and got through, but opted out because she thought it was not good enough.

Sandhya, a classmate, said: “She wanted to do MBA but when she heard about women in the army, she said that was the place for her. We used to call her company bahadur.”

Neighbour Sudhanshu said the Chakraborthys were a happy family. “I never heard of any financial problems. He (Chakraborthy) is a senior master technician at BHEL, owns a two-storied house worth over Rs 20 lakh and has a son who is brilliant in studies.”

Before Susmita left, the family had tentatively agreed she would be allowed to quit her job if she wanted. Mother Sadhana was a little unsure and wanted her to continue, to avoid paying the punitive bond money for quitting the army before the mandatory five years. “We had told her the money could be arranged by selling the house,” she said.

But the lieutenant, who turned 25 on June 10, knew the effort that had gone into buying the land and building the white and red two-storied house. With her father due to retire soon, her mother’s worries about her brother’s education ' he has just passed Class XII ' might have weighed on her mind.

Unless Susmita had another reason to end her life.

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