Legendary social worker late Baba Amte’s granddaughter and social activist Dr Sheetal Amte-Karajgi died by suicide on Monday. A day after her tragic death, her father-in-law wrote an angry letter to the Amtes and said that she was “isolated and vilified” by the family. Sheetal was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maharogi Sewa Samiti (MSS) founded by late Baba Amte in 1951. She was married to Gautam Karajgi, an engineer, and had a six-year-old son Sharvil.
Her in-laws Shirish and Suhasini Karajgi alleged that Sheetal was discriminated, biased and couldn’t face the challenges brought in by the management of her late grandfather’s Anandwan rehabilitation centre. “I, actually, wrote this letter two days in the past. And now Sheetal is gone,” father-in-law Shirish stated in a letter that was addressed to Dr Prakash Amte, Sheetal’s uncle, Mumbai Mirror reported.
As per an earlier report, Sheetal was under stress for the last few days. Her husband, Gautam, who heads operations at MSS in Anandwan said she was upset about her brother Kaustubh’s involvement at the family trust. “Sheetal is not going to return. Our son Sharvil is six and he is my main responsibility now. He keeps asking about his mom. I am preparing myself to tell him his mom will never return,” he said.
“Sheetal was not insane. She was doing her work and activities. Some media reports against her had affected her mental health,” said Gautam while interacting with The Hitavada.
Shirish wrote in the letter, “I didn’t know whether to react or remain silent on this. But finally thought that if Sheetal is ‘Amte’ and such injustice is happening to her, what will happen to the other common girls? What could be more shameful that the Amte family (her own parents and uncles) should make such a joint statement (by signing) about her,” Loksatta reported.
According to a Mumbai Mirror report, a few days ago, 39-year-old Sheetal had made serious allegations about the trustees and activists of the leprosy service committee in Anandvan through a live video on Facebook, which was later deleted. She had alleged irregularities in MSS but removed the post within two hours. She had also made fresh charges against cousin Aniket, her uncle Prakash Amte’s son.
Later on November 22, a statement issued by the Amte family denying the allegations stating that Sheetal “is currently facing mental stress and depression,” Indian Express reported.
— Dr. Sheetal Amte-Karajgi (@AmteSheetal) December 27, 2017
Talking about Sheetal Amte and mental health, Khulta Kali Khulena actress Mayuri Deshmukh, who lost her husband Ashutosh Bhakre a few months ago, said in a video on Instagram, “I got a message from socialist Sheetal Amte a few months ago who messaged me on social media and praised me for my courage. She also told me that she is there for her no matter what and encouraged me a lot with her words. I saw her sensitivity. Me and Ashutosh I also watched her video together, where she spoke about how she is dealing with depression. It was so inspiring. I was looking up to her, and her suicide, I feel, is a personal loss for me.”
Feature Image Credit: Dr Sheetal Amte-Karajgi/Facebook