After surviving murderous attack, she is set for new battle

After surviving murderous attack, she is set for new battle

She is not a celebrity like a film star or a sports personality. Neither she is a well known political figure. But Linkan Subudhi has become a household name in Odisha, particularly in Bhubaneswar, her home town. 

What has brought the 29-year-old IT professional-turned-social activist the name and to a large extent fame too is her recent brave act-- her success in preventing a child marriage in a slum in Noida near New Delhi despite a murderous assault on her which landed the young lady on a hospital bed. 

Since her return to Bhubaneswar after the mid-September incident, awards have been pouring in at regular intervals. Organisations and individuals who have already felicitated the brave heart, include Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a number of local newspapers. 

A Bhubaneswar-based well known management college is reportedly contemplating including Linkan’s story in one of its courses. 

Daughter of a retired Army official-- her father was serving in Assam Rifles and had taken part in Kargil conflict-- the woman was always interested in social service but got an opportunity to pursue it when she joined a Noida-based IT company in 2008. 

Through the company’s corporate social responsibility activities, she began to work for the children of the poor and downtrodden, especially residents of nearby slums.

A further opportunity to serve the poor knocked at her door when she came in contact with a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation called Prayag. Her job was to teach children of a Noida slum during her spare time. “I used to take their classes after my day’s work in office and during weekends,” she said. 

During her association with Prayag, she came to know about the rampant child marriages of minor girls in Noida slums. In addition to teaching the slum children, she then began an awareness campaign to stop the illegal practice. 

On that fateful day in September this year, Linkan had rushed to a Noida slum to prevent the marriage of Sona, a 14-year-old girl, who was a bright student in her class, when she was assaulted with sticks and knives. She had gone to the spot after the minor girl telephoned her (Linkan) whom the girl was calling “didi” and pleaded to rescue her. 

30 stitches 

One of the perpetrators of the crime was the girl’s mother. The other one was her cousin who wanted to marry the minor. In fact, he had already attempted to rape her. It was certainly a murderous attack. After the attack, she had more than 30 stitches on her head and had to spend nearly a week in the intensive care unit of a Delhi hospital. 

She was taken to hospital in an unconscious state by the residents of the slum who had already begun to respect and love her for the social service activities she had taken up. 

“I do not know how I survived the murderous attack. When I was losing my consciousness after the attack, I folded my hand and prayed to the god realising that could be the last mome­nts of my life. In fact, when I regained my consciousness on the hospital bed and saw my family members and friends around me I thought that I am already dead and it was not me but my soul which is seeing my near and dear ones who are around my dead body,” observed the 29-year-old woman recounting the horror of that fateful day. She is still under treatment for the head injury she had received. “I am on leave now,” she said.  

Significantly, this was for the second time Linkan was trying to rescue the girl from the clutches of the perpetrators. Her mother and other members of her family as well as the same person who was trying to marry her had taken the minor girl to Bihar last year to solemnise the marriage there in secrecy. 

When she (Linkan) came to know about this-- it was again the minor girl who had telephoned her and conveyed her the information-- she had foiled the attempt with the help of the superintendent of police and the district collector where the illegal marriage was being planned.  

Linkan’s relentless efforts and sacrifice have borne fruit because the minor girl is now in a shelter of a local child care unit. Her mother is behind the bars. However, the man, the principal assaulter, is still at large.

The young woman now plans to quit her job and involve herself in social service. “I am planning to set up an NGO of my own which will initially work within Odisha but will subsequently branch out to other states,” she said. 

In addition to social service, she is also seriously contemplating  joining another challenging profession-- politics. Cashing in on her popularity, the ruling Biju Janata Dal has already offered her a ticket to contest for the post of a corporator in the coming Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation elections scheduled for next month and she has accepted the offer.   

Asked what prompted her to test the electoral waters, she quipped: “It will only be an extension of the social services I am already in. I will certainly not be in politics to earn money or fame.”  

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