| Nargis: Woman of steel
Pandua (Hooghly) Dec. 19: Five years ago, Nargis Yashmin was a girl of 18 who had cleared her ICSE examination from a school in Bandel and was a Class XI student in an institution here.
On a January evening in 1998, while returning home from coaching class, three youths began stalking Nargis. They made lewd comments and indecent proposals. Nargis tried to hurry, as much as she could. Yards from her house, the trio zeroed in on her.
She was hit on the left side of her head with a chopper and then shot. The bullet pierced her abdomen and got stuck in the spinal chord. The trio took her to be dead and fled.
Additional assistant district judge Shukla Sengupta yesterday sentenced Sheikh Hasan, Sheikh Rahim and Morshed Ali to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined them Rs 75,000 each.
Parents and neighbours launched a search for Nargis when she did not return home late that night. She was lying in a pool of blood close to her house when family members stumbled on her. Nargis was rushed to the nearest health centre and from there to a nursing home in Calcutta, 75 km away.
The bullet was taken out of her spine but the injury left the girl paralysed waist down.
Her father Badsha Alam, a businessman, lodged an FIR with Pandua police station against the three youths. His daughter had complained about them earlier as well. Hasan, Rahim and Ali were picked up within a week.
Nargis was sent to Vellore for treatment. Doctors there said she would have to walk with specially designed crutches for the rest of her life. The dream of becoming a doctor crashed around her but studies she did not quit.
Nargis has now completed her graduation from Burdwan University through correspondence and is doing MA from Rabindra Bharati University, also through correspondence. She hopes to get a degree in law in future.
“After all these years, I am delighted to know that criminals do get punished. They had almost killed me,” Nargis said at her home this morning, tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.
Months ago, Nargis had another reason to feel happy. When her former private tutor, Deshdulal Chatterjee, now a central excise officer, expressed his desire to marry her. Chatterjee had taught her between Class VII and X.
They were married three months ago. The former teacher said he did not marry Nargis out of sympathy. Chatterjee fell in love with “a girl who knew how to fight it out”.