Times of India
05 July 2011
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has come to the rescue of an HIV-positive woman, who was driven out by her in-laws after she contracted the deadly virus from her husband. Shampa Das will get a job in the additional district magistrate’s office in Asansol and sees new hope for her two children, neither of whom have HIV.
Shampa, an English honours graduate from Chittaranjan and a state-level athlete, had gone to Mamata’s home in Kalighat on Saturday with her children to “clutch at a last straw”. Mamata took her in, listened to her, and asked her to come to Writers’ with PHE minister Subrata Mukherjee on Monday. “The CM even arranged for her treatment in Delhi,” Mukherjee said.
Shampa married Swapan Kumar Das, an Asansol businessman, in 1997. On November 23, 2006, he died of AIDS, leaving Shampa infected. She says her in-laws dispossessed her of Swapan’s 2.5-crore inheritance. The 31-year-old ran from pillar to post to secure a future for her kids. She lodged an FIR against brothersin-law Nanda Kumar Das and Dilip Kumar Das after which a court ordered them to pay her compensation of 50,000 and 25,000 for treatment.
But this was hardly enough. “It was getting extremely difficult for me to educate my children. My medicines alone cost more than 8,000 a month,” she said. “I cannot thank the CM enough. She has saved my kids.”
This isn’t the first time Mamata has helped people in need. On Saturday, at BC Roy Children’s Hospital, she took the prescription from a poor patient, saying she would bear the cost of medicines.
PM in job push for HIV victims Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi: Now, employment for HIV patients enjoys the Prime Minister’s backing.
On Monday, Manmohan Singh officially called for linking the country’s HIV programmes and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to help HIV patients get employment. In India, the social stigma against HIV patients is tremendous, making it hard for them to get work.
Urging ministries to have an “HIV-sensitive” policy and programmes so that the marginalized populations infected and affected by HIV/AIDS are not denied the benefits of these schemes, Singh said: “We have to ensure that there is no stigma and discrimination towards HIV-infected and affected persons. No child should be denied admission in schools and colleges because he or she is afflicted with HIV or because his or her parents are afflicted with this disease.”
Inaugurating the national convention of zilla parishad and mayors on HIV/AIDS, he said: “We must ensure no person loses his or her employment because of HIV. We must see there is no social ostracization. We should ensure that women are not doubly stigmatized.”
India has about 24 lakh HIV patients. But the good news is that the number of new HIV infections is down to 1.2 lakh annually compared to 2.7 lakh in 2000. “This means in the last decade we have brought down the new infections by half,” health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
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