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Veerapan’s ghost haunts daughters

Wednesday 8 June 2005

CHENNAI: Veerappan is dead and gone. But his ghost continues to haunt his innocent children, Vidhya Rani (14) and Prabha (13). Despite being good at academics, they’re still going without education. Meanwhile, schools reopened on June 1.

Last academic year, Vidhya Rani studied at St Paul’s, Coimbatore, while the younger one studied at St Joseph’s, Cuddallore.

Though they moved onto Class IX and Class VIII respectively with creditable marks, Muthulakshmi - the brigand’s widow - is still struggling. None of the schools are ready to admit her children.

Speaking to The Times of India over phone from Salem, Muthulakshmi said: "We approached about 20 schools across Trichy, Salem and Namakkal districts. In fact, in Namakkal, we went to almost all schools. But, principals fear, once they admit my daughters, their institutions would come under the police scanner."

"We don’t want any trouble. Please leave the place," was the curt reply she received from many schools.

But, can’t the politicians come to her rescue?

"I met many of them. Explained our plight. They all promised to help but did nothing," her voice broke amidst sobs. After a pause she added: "Why should these innocent children pay for the sins committed by my husband? I really don’t understand this world."

True, her daughters can continue their studies in the schools where they studied till last year. But, Muthulakshmi is determined to put both of them in the same school.

"Earlier due to police harassment and various other factors, we all got separated. We never experienced the security and warmth that being together would have brought. Till their father was alive, we lived under constant fear. At least now, I want to give them the happiness they missed", she says.

Of course, her daughters can get admission in a government school. But, the problem is that they can’t read or write Tamil.

"All through they studied in convents. Hindi was their second language. That is the real problem," she says.

Veerappan, who was shot dead on October 18 last year, had an unfulfilled dream. He wanted Vidhya Rani to become an IAS officer and Prabha a software engineer.

As he sleeps in his grave, his daughters envy the freedom being enjoyed by their friends; who attend schools, share jokes and participate in games.

See online : The Times of India

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