| Anjali and Rimjhim with Shanti Niketan School principal Avineshwar Prasad Singh meet chief minister Nitish Kumar at the janata durbar on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Abandoned sisters Rimjhim (12) and Anjali (11) met chief minister Nitish Kumar at his janata durbar on Monday.
Avineshwar Prasad Singh, principal of Shanti Niketan School where they study, approached the chief minister, as his private school runs till Class VIII only and he was worried about their plight.
The Telegraph had reported on September 7, 2013, the plight of the two sisters, whose mother Shikha Pandey admitted them to the school on October 12, 2006, and did a vanishing act before surfacing briefly in 2008 to pocket Rs 2 lakh that superstar Amitabh Bachchan provided them.
“We have come here so that Nitish sir can convey our message to Amitabh uncle. We want to send this message to him that his help has not brought any change to our lives,” Anjali said.
The girls received special treatment at the chief minister’s durbar, being taken directly to Nitish’s table while others had to wait for their turn.
As soon as they reached the gates of 1 Aney Marg at 10.55am and were through with security checks, the guards offered them chairs.
The school principal introduced the two sisters to a senior officer and told him about how Amitabh Bachchan had tried to help them.
Without further delay, the officer instructed a security guard to guide them directly to the chief minister’s table. There, the girls handed over their application to Nitish.
The chief minister went through their plea and asked the principal about the girls’ condition. Singh explained he was the only person looking after them.
Moved by their plight after watching a programme on television, Bachchan had invited the sisters to Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh in 2008 to hand them a cheque of Rs 2 lakh during the foundation-laying ceremony of a girls’ high school named after the actor’s daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. But the girls’ mother got wind of the function and turned up to take them back. She accompanied them to Barabanki, where the cheque was issued in her name. On returning to Patna, she told principal Singh she would return in a day, but never did.
On hearing him out, Nitish told them: “Go and meet the district magistrate of Patna. He will help you.”
Rimjhim and Anjali skipped school on Monday. “I do not have any option. I had to take this step, as their future is bleak. My private school runs till Class VIII only. Where will they study after that and from where will I arrange for their study as well as accommodation,” Singh asked before reaching district magistrate (DM) N. Saravana Kumar’s office.
The district magistrate offered them a chair, read their application and said: “As you have mentioned in the application that one sister suffers from epilepsy, the district administration will take care of her medical expenses. If there is any problem in their studies, we will help with that too.”
The sisters don’t even want to remember their mother’s face after she left them in the lurch. “We do not want to go back to our mother,” Anjali said.
Elder sister Rimjhim broke down when asked about her health.
“I hope the purpose of our visit to the durbar is fulfilled and we get government support so that I can continue looking after them,” Singh said.
On the sidelines of the janata durbar, The Telegraph asked Nitish about the abandoned sisters.
“Our government is doing a lot of work for the betterment of orphans. Regarding the sisters, I have already asked the DM to look into the matter. The government will provide them all possible support and so that they can continue with their studies.”