'There was no message from her,' says Sheena Bora’s professor Hermione Salazar

Salazar wrote Sheena a recommendation letter for further studies but never heard from her again

Mumbai: An outgoing girl who seemed to have “no problems whatsoever”, with a bent for research. This is how Hermione Salazar, the former head of the department for Economics at St. Xavier’s College, remembers Sheena Bora.Ms Salazar, who taught at St. Xavier’s for 33 years before retiring in April last year, told us she was shocked when she saw the headlines referring to Sheena’s shocking death on Wednesday. Sheena was a student at the college from 2006-2009, and earned a BA in Economics. “I didn’t know of the incident because I was out for a guest lecture. It was when I reached home and switched on the TV (that I found out),” Ms Salazar said.

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As details of the case emerged on Wednesday, many compared the alleged killing of Sheena by her sister/mother Indrani Mukerjea and her driver, to a whodunit by Sidney Sheldon and his ilk. It was reported that Sheena and her younger brother Mikhail were Indrani’s children from previous relationships; they lived with their grandparents in Guwahati and were usually passed off as Indrani’s siblings. Sheena had in fact, lived with Indrani and her husband Peter Mukerjea (it was a second marriage for both of them; they tied the knot in 2002) for a while — but it appears that a relationship between Sheena and Peter’s son from his previous marriage, Rahul, had been a cause of much stress among the family. While initial reports of the incident focused on a possible financial dispute leading to a fall-out between Indrani and Sheena, statements by Mikhail...

Read: Indrani killed daughter Sheena Bora, motive unclear, says police

and Peter hinted that the relationship with Rahul Mukerjea might have been the real cause. Indrani’s driver told the police on Tuesday that he had killed Sheena at Indrani’s behest and also disposed of the body in Raigad.Throughout the story, one of the disturbing points that has emerged is the absolute lack of contact between Sheena and those close to her, right from 2012, when she is believed to have been murdered. Her Facebook account was deactivated from December 2011. When her brother Mikhail tried to get in touch with Sheena, he was told by Indrani that his sister had moved to the US for further studies. Mikhail has said that his repeated requests for Sheena’s contact went unanswered by Indrani. Peter Mukerjea too has said that Indrani told him that Sheena had gone to the US.

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The complete lack of any message/phone call/update from Sheena does not seem to have rung alarm bells loud enough among those close to her — no one apart from Mikhail has really come forward to say that they made a serious attempt to trace her and connect with her. Ms Salazar recalls writing a recommendation letter for Sheena for further studies in the US, but didn’t hear from her after that.

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“I was happy because she had a bent for research and was going abroad… but then there was no message from her whatsoever. Students who go abroad often send details about their whereabouts and the courses they are pursuing to the teachers, but nothing of that sort came from her. I wasn’t surprised though,” Ms Salazar says.What made Sheena stand out among a class of 110 SYBA (Economics) students? “Sheena was never a problematic student, neither was she held up in college for any unruly behaviour. I taught her Macroeconomics and in the second year, the students had to prepare a research paper, which they were to present on a trip to Khandala.

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Out of the 110 students, the reason Sheena’s name clicks even after so many years, is because she was the only one in the class who took the effort to collect the primary data for her paper from the rural schools along the borders of Maharashtra. After the news (of her death), I have been trying to look for the brochure we design for the students’ annual seminars but I can’t seem to find it...” Ms Salazar says. Sheena went on to work as an assistant manager in HR for Reliance ADAG, before her untimely death at the age of just 24, in 2012. But Ms Salazar still remembers her as the girl who would sit along with a bunch of classmates after lectures, trying to understand the nitty-gritty of Macroeconomics and research methodology. “She seemed like such a normal child to me back then, with no troubles whatsoever. She attended lectures every day,” Ms Salazar says. “She was so outgoing.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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