Goddess Durga, it seems has two earthly daughters apart from the divine Saraswati and Lakshmi — Rimjhim (12) and Anjali (11) — who are being brought up by Shanti Niketan School principal Avineshwar Prasad Singh.
Two days back, the district administration handed over two cheques of Rs 6,000 each to the sisters. The government is also trying to mobilise funds from firms, which provide help under corporate social responsibility initiative.
Nitish had asked Patna district magistrate (DM) N. Saravana Kumar to look into the matter. The district administration then came forward to help the girls. It provided Rs 12,000 to the school to take care of the them.
On the last day of school before Durga Puja vacation, The Telegraph met the sisters playing on the campus. Both looked happy and were discussing their Puja plans.
One Shikha Pandey had got the girls — her daughters — admitted to Shanti Niketan School at Jagat Narayan Road on October 12, 2006, before disappearing. She resurfaced in 2008 to collect a cheque of Rs 2 lakh that Amitabh Bachchan had given to the girls. But she abandoned them again. At present, their guardian is principal Singh and his wife Saroj Devi.
Singh said: “I must thank the district administration for taking the initiative to help the abandoned sisters. They were really in need of money. Without the government’s help, it would not be possible to bear the expense of their higher studies.”
The cheque was provided through the Women’s Helpline project manager, Pramila Kumari, who was asked to look into the matter. She is in touch with Muzaffarpur resident Ashok Pandey, who claimed to be their father and visited the school on September 10 to claim custody of the girls. Pramila said: “I have inquired about Ashok from local people and a police station in Muzaffarpur. His claim of being their father is true. But at present, we will not give him their custody. He is not in a position to take up the financial responsibility.”
Anjali said: “We do not want to go anywhere. We want to stay in the school. We do not remember our parent’s faces. We owe everything to principal sir. He and his wife are looking after us for many years and they never made us feel that we are someone else’s children.”
The sisters also showed the cheque provided by the district administration. Rimjhim, who has not been keeping well, expressed happiness. “We have asked principal sir to take us to Dakbungalow and Boring Road pujas. Last year, I was not well and could not go anywhere.”
DM Kumar said: “The education and energy departments have expressed willingness to help the sisters. We will keep on providing the girls financial support.”