Social worker Dr Sheetal Amte-Karajgi, granddaughter of late social activist Baba Amte, was found dead at Warora in Maharashtra on Monday (November 30). According to reports, she died by suicide.
She was rushed to Warora’s government hospital, but was declared dead on arrival. Inspector Deepak Khobragade of Warora police station in Chandrapur district told The Indian Express, “She died around 1 pm at a district hospital in Chandrapur. She was rushed there after her health deteriorated.”
On reports of suicide, Khobragade said, “I can’t confirm that.”
News agency PTI, quoting sources, said, Sheetal (39) took the extreme step following a recent public spat with other members of the Amte family over the management of Maharogi Seva Samiti, a social service organisation founded by Baba Amte, a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and Padma Vibhushan, who died in 2008.
Her body was taken from Warora to Chandrapur, 50 km away, for post mortem. A team of forensic experts from Nagpur has gone to Warora and the room in Anandwan where Sheetal’s body was found has been sealed, sources told PTI.
Baba Amte’s sons Vikas and Prakash and their wives Bharti and Mandakini, respectively, had recently issued a clarification on several allegations made by Sheetal, Vikas’s daughter, on social media. She was the Samiti’s CEO.
The clarification from the senior Amtes read, “Maharogi Seva Samiti, Warora is a leading social service organisation in the country. It provided direction and inspiration to the development of the deprived. Lakhs of social activists were trained here. Three generations of Amtes are deeply involved in this work.
“Among us, Sheetal Gautam Karajgi, nee Sheetal Vikas Amte, has contributed to the work done by our organisation. She, however, is facing mental stress and depression. While admitting it in her social media posts, she made inappropriate statements about the work, trustees and workers of Maharogi Seva Samiti.
“All her comments are baseless. The Amte family is issuing this statement after mutual discussions to prevent any likely misunderstanding caused by Sheetal’s allegations.”
Baba Amte received India’s second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan for his social work, particularly for leprosy patients, carried out at Anandwan, an asylum for the afflicted discarded by the society.
Set up in 1959 at Warora in Chandrapur district, Anandwan is administered by Maharogi Seva Samiti, a public charitable trust of which Vikas Amte is the secretary and Sheetal Karajgi was the Chief Executive Officer, a post created three years ago.
(With inputs from PTI)