The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ramakrishna Mission reunites girl with family

Malda, May 11: A chance meeting with a maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission paved the way for 20-year-old Reshma Khatoon’s reunion with her family, three years after she was found roaming around at the Samsi railway station.

A tearful Hamidunnissa, Reshma’s mother, hugged her at the court today after she was officially released from the state-run home where she had been staying till now. Hamidunnissa and her two sons, Sahamat and Ahamat, reached Malda this morning, having travelled all the way from their village on the outskirts of Lucknow.

None of this would have happened, however, if Swami Dibyananda Maharaj, the head of the Ramakrishna Mission here, did not meet Reshma last week during a visit to the home. For when the GRP had found her at the Samsi station, Reshma had appeared mentally unstable and had also lost her memory.

“But when I went to the home for a counselling session on May 7, Reshma told me that she remembered where she came from,” Swami Dibyananda said. “She told me that she wanted to go back home.”

Swami Dibyananda then got in touch with a senior railway official in Lucknow and gave him the details of the girl’s case. “The gentleman whom I called went to Reshma’s house in the Polipulia police station area of Lucknow and informed her widowed mother about the whereabouts of the girl,” the maharaj said.

Hamidunnissa recounted the moment on Tuesday when the railway official told her about Reshma. “We had given up on her and the news astounded us,” she said. “We did not know how to get here and boarded a train and ended up in Sealdah. From there we took a train to Malda and went straight to the Ramakrishna Mission to thank the maharaj.”

Pranab Chatterjee, the lawyer who helped the family process the papers and take custody of Reshma, said what the state-run system could not do was done by the Ramakrishna Mission. “The police or the authorities of the home did not feel it necessary to help the girl return home,” he said.

Swami Dibyananda said Reshma had recovered her memory and had even picked up smattering of Bengali during her time at the home. “I believe that she will improve further under the care of her family,” he said.

The family left for Lucknow on the Farakka Express this evening.

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