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Past haunts slain doctor’s widow
- Gynaecologist’s wife resigns hospital job to flee taunts of colleagues

Kanika Pal is struggling to get over her past — the murder of her gynaecologist husband Sushil Pal and the trauma that she went through. But her colleagues would have none of it.

Hounded by the taunts of her colleagues, who she said mocked at her plight, Kanika resigned as a clerk in the accounts department of National Medical College and Hospital in August. She got the job on humanitarian grounds following the murder of her husband.

“The work atmosphere in my office was troubling me. I tried to adjust with the situation, but failed,” recalled the 38-year-old Karaya resident, who now teaches in a private English-medium school.

Kanika’s nightmare began on July 3, 2004, the day the mud-caked body of her husband, who worked at Serampore Walsh Hospital, was found by a canal in Howrah. The trial in the case is still pending.

She met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, seeking justice and a job on humanitarian grounds. And after she got the job at National Medical College in June, 2006, she dreamt of starting life afresh.

But her colleagues’ attitude put paid to her hopes. Citing an example of the humiliation she had to face, Kanika said: “I have two minor daughters but no one else apart from myself to look after them. On days I reached office late by a few minutes after dropping them at school, my colleagues would say I was taking advantage of being Dr Pal’s widow. But I always informed my superior if there was any chance of my being late.”

That was not all. “My colleagues would always say that I should not have taken up the job as my husband had earned a lot for me and my children. They also used to taunt my sincerity at work, saying ‘Your husband, too, worked sincerely, but think of his fate’. I couldn’t take the insults any more and resigned.”

But her past continued to haunt her even after she left the job, for which she is thankful to the chief minister. “Wherever I went in search of another job, people stopped talking to me the moment they learnt I was Dr Pal’s wife. I’m grateful to Rosita Christin, the principal of St John’s Diocesan School, who took me in.”

National Medical principal Rabindranath Mukherjee said: “Kanika Pal’s resignation has been accepted. No probe has been ordered as she said she was resigning on personal grounds.”

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