Nine months after the Karnataka HC asked the government to provide her a job, Leesha has not got any relief from the govt.

Left disabled by terror attack four years ago Bengaluru woman still waits for justiceAll photos by The News Minute
news Battle for Justice Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 19:41

Leesha leans back on the small sofa in the living room, placed next to a window. From here, she gets a direct view of the main entrance of her house and the road outside. 

 A textbook and a glass of hot coffee are at arm’s length. So are a pair of crutches. 

The 21-year-old college student from Bengaluru was among 16 people who were injured in a terror attack near the BJP office in Malleshwaram on April 17, 2013.

The summer of 2013 holds horrific memories for Leesha, who was then 17 years old. The terror attack has left her disabled. 

Four years later, Leesha is now fighting a battle against the Karnataka state government for failing to give her a job on compassionate grounds, and against the Union government for failing to address issues related to victims of terror attacks. 

Two weeks ago, she filed a contempt of court petition against the Siddharamaiah-led Congress government as well as the Union government. The state government had failed to comply with an order by the Karnataka HC in October last year, asking it to provide a government job to Leesha. The court had also directed the Centre to decide on the compensation to be given to Leesha and formulate a National policy for the victims of terror attacks. Both governments have not acted on these directions by the court.

On Monday, the bench that heard the contempt petition served notices to PK Garg, Secretary, Department of Home, and Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for the first week of July

 

Leesha's story

 In April, 2013, Leesha had just finished her final year of Pre-University College (PUC) and was attending a coaching class to prepare for the Common Entrance Test (CET).

Her father Doreswamy would drop her off at the coaching centre in Nandini Layout on his motorbike every day after 6.30 am.

During a break at 9.30 am on April 17, Leesha went to a nearby temple with her friend Rakshita, and grabbed a quick bite before they headed back to class. As the two teenagers crossed the road to go back to their coaching classes, an explosion threw them off the road. 

 "I heard a huge noise, and I was thrown off the road. My friend was lying injured opposite me, a car was on fire and my left ankle was dangling on a thin mound of flesh. I cried in pain, I cried in desperation, but no one came to our aid for a few minutes," Leesha says.

 When she was taken to KC General Hospital, little did Leesha know that it was the beginning of a slew of hospital visits. 

 

Treatment 

After receiving treatment at KC hospital for the first couple of days, Leesha was shifted to MS Ramaiah Hospital. At the end of her treatment that lasted for 58 days, Leesha had undergone four surgeries to fix her injured left leg. 

Unlike her right leg, her injured left leg has lost mobility. She uses POP plaster, single fixator and elicero rings to support her leg.

“She spent 190 days in total in hospital. She was admitted for 58 days initially and subsequently once every week she had to be taken to hospital for check-up. For the rest of the five surgeries, she needed to be admitted for more than a month every time," says her father Doreswamy. The 48-year-old is a mechanic who works quite close to his home.

Being the only earning member of the family has been challenging for Doreswamy and he struggles to make ends meet.

"We had to take a taxi every day to go to my college and back. Either my father or my mother used to accompany me every day. My leg would suddenly start bleeding and they were scared for me. My father would stay at the college the whole day. The class was on the 2nd floor and on days when the elevator would not work, he would carry me to the class," Leesha narrates. 

As she recollects the days she spent in immense pain, she occasionally glances at her father. Doreswamy smiles weakly and looks at a few photographs from the early days of Leesha's treatment. 

Education

The tragedy that struck her unexpectedly did not stop Leesha from losing hope. Leesha did appear for the CET exam, but she did not score well. 

"After the blast, I had this ringing sound in my ears, which took weeks to go. I could not concentrate," she says. 

The same year, she joined a BCA (Bachelor of Computer Science) and after completing the course, she is currently in the 4th semester of her MCA. 

Financial assistance 

While the state government took care of most of her hospital bills, meeting all other expenses hasn't been an easy task for the four-member family. Leesha's younger brother Sharad is a PU student. 

"The government paid for all the in-patient bills that came upto Rs 8 lakh. However, expenses for medicines and scanning had to be borne by us. The taxi bills every day, college fees… it has been tough for my father," Leesha narrates. 

Legal battle 

Despite personal assurances from CM Siddaramaiah, Leesha found herself knocking on the doors of the HC for justice. It was in 2015 that she first filed a writ petition, asking for the government to provide her a job under the disabled quota and also for compensation of Rs 1 Crore. 

Although the court ruled in her favour and asked the state government to treat her case as a special one and provide her employment within three months, this was not complied with, forcing Leesha to approach the court again. 

Against all odds

Does the constant struggle wear her out at times? No, Leesha says. 

"The bomb blast made my life taken an unexpected turn. Who would have thought? But I had to do something to take my mind off the pain and I turned to studies. Whenever I feel upset, I think about my parents, who have fought against all odds to support me. I want to now financially support them."  

 

 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.