The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Refused Re 1, girl commits suicide

Behrampore, Sept. 23: A schoolgirl took her own life in a village near here today after her mother failed to provide her a rupee to buy tiffin.

The Class V student of Ghoshpara Sarbapalli Vidyaniketan was also a Sania, Sania Khatun. But at Paraspur village in Jalangi, 250 km from Calcutta, life was very different from her illustrious namesake's.

The Sania here wanted to have some muri (puffed rice) at school today, but Jainab Bewar, a widow who works as a maid, did not even have that.

Sania did not usually carry lunch to school. But yesterday, she saw some of her classmates having muri and telebhaja (oil cakes) and the temptation was too much.

Jainab scolded her daughter and left for work this morning. When she returned, Sania was hanging from the ceiling at the end of one of her saris.

Jainab said: 'I did not give her the money as I did not have it. I snapped at her when she insisted on it.'

Most afternoons, Sania ate whatever little her mother managed to bring home from the houses where she worked.

Their house had been wa- shed away by a flood over a month ago and with four sons and a daughter, Jainab had been living in a makeshift hut.

Two of her sons work as daily wagers, but they have no regular employment. Jainab and her sons together never earned over Rs 600 a month. Sania was the youngest of three daughters. Her sisters, aged 24 and 15, have been married off.

Rabin Deb, the Left Front chief whip, said: 'Such poverty is unheard of in Bengal.' What Deb and many leaders have not heard of is everyday reality for the likes of Jainab.

District superintendent of police Niraj Kumar Singh said: 'It is most unfortunate.'

A psychoanalyst said extreme poverty coupled with her mother's denial drove Sania to death. 'She had already been pushed to the brink. Her mother acted as the trigger.'

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