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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

An orphan's tragic tale

Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times  Jammu, August 17, 2012
First Published: 11:18 IST(17/8/2012) | Last Updated: 11:20 IST(17/8/2012)

Like her parents, Raksha Sharma died an unnatural death.

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It was in 1997 that her father Paras Ram and mother Shobavati were shot dead by suspected Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in their house at Kalra Dhok village in Prem Nagar of Doda district, about 220 km from Jammu city. On Tuesday night, Raksha committed suicide in her hostel room at Mehr Chand Polytechnic College, Jalandhar, allegedly due to harassment by her ex-boyfriend.

Soon after their parents' death, Raksha and her sisters Sneha and Bhawana had been adopted by the SOS Children's Village-India here on the recommendation of the local administration. The Village, operational since 1995, has 180 orphaned students.

Brajesh Singh, assistant director of the village, said, "Raksha would call us regularly. She spoke to me in the afternoon on August 14 (Tuesday). But her voice did not betray any mental stress."

"She was an above-average student and would score around 65% marks. She was a good communicator and was interested in dancing and other co-circular activities," said Meenu, counsellor of the Village.

Raksha and her sisters were being taken care of by Sarswati Pandey (44), who was now their adopted mother. After studying in the Village school, Raksha shifted to Khuda Bakshi school (with hostel facility) after clearing the entrance test. Later, she secured admission in the Jalandhar polytechnic, where was pursuing a diploma in computer science and engineering. All expenses on her education were being borne by the Village.

Sneha is pursuing graduation from Jammu University, while Bhawna is doing BSc in hotel management outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Narinder Sharma, a resident of Kalra Dhok village, told HT on the phone, "Raksha was cremated at her native place in Doda district on Thursday, 17 years after her slain parents were consigned to the flames."

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