Other States

Renowned social worker Dr. Sheetal Amte-Karajgi found dead

Twitter photo of Dr. Sheetal Amte-Karajgi.   | Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/amtesheetal?lang=en

Renowned social worker and CEO at Maharogi Sewa Samiti (Leprosy Services Committee) Sheetal Amte-Karajgi was found dead at ‘Anandwan’ in Chandrapur district’s Warora on Monday.

She was found unconscious and was rushed to the Warora’s government hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival. It is suspected that she committed suicide by injecting herself with poison. She is survived by her husband and a son.

Suicide prevention helplines

Sheetal was a grand-daughter of internationally known human rights activist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, the late Baba Amte, who founded the Maharogi Sewa Samiti in 1949. The institutions has been a pioneer in medical treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients.

Recent media reports had said that the Amte family was in the middle of dispute over the manner in which MSS was being run and over the appointment of new trustees.

Earlier this week, Ms. Sheetal had put out a Facebook live video in which she reportedly raised allegations against a few of her family members. The video was removed within hours from her profile. Later, the Amte family issued a statement that she was suffering from mental stress and depression.

The family is yet to release any statement regarding the death of Sheetal.

Anandwan is administered by the MSS, in which Sheetal’s father Vikas Amte is one of the trustees. Sheetal became the CEO of the trust, a post specially created for her, three years ago.

Sheetal, a medical doctor was a disability specialist and was known as an environmentalist, painter and photographer. One of her projects after becoming the CEO was to turn ‘Anandwan’ into a kind of ‘Smart Village’ by making it technologically efficient, economically productive and environmentally sensitive. She received a grant from by Lancet Commission on Global Surgery for setting up a ‘Centre of Excellence for Medical Leadership, ethics and Motivation’ at Anandwan. She then went on to establish ‘Mashaal’ and ‘Chirag’, two exclusive leadership training programmes for motivating medical professionals across India.

Her model of dense plantation of native trees, adopted for Indian conditions from ‘Miyawaki method of afforestation,’ was adopted by the Government of Maharashtra and renamed ‘Anandwan Dense Forest Model’. Her other programs Yuvagram and Nijbal concentrated on youth.

Recent media reports had suggested that Sheetal was unhappy at the re-induction of Kaustubh, her brother, in the MSS trust. Kaustubh had resigned from the trust following allegations of irregularities. After he was re-inducted this October, Sheetal had made her displeasure public in a video posted on Facebook. It was immediately removed.

Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact BMC mental health helpline 022-24131212 (24x7); Vandrevala Foundation: 18602662345/ 18002333330 (24x7); I Call: 022-25521111 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday); The Samaritans Mumbai: 8422984528/ 8422984529/ 8422984530 (3 p.m.- 9 p.m. all days).

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 9:36:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/renowned-social-worker-dr-sheetal-amte-karajgi-found-dead/article33211941.ece

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