Men who threw acid on Dalit girl's face are threatening her, says NGO

They allegedly sexually harassed her and when she opposed, they threw acid on her face.
Men who threw acid on Dalit girl's face are threatening her, says NGO
Men who threw acid on Dalit girl's face are threatening her, says NGO
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Over two years after four young men in Bihar’s Patna district allegedly doused an 18-year-old Dalit girl’s face with acid, an online petition seeks cancellation of bail granted to three of the accused. The fourth one did not get bail.

Started by Varsha Jawalgekar of Parivartan Kendra, the petition claims that the men have been threatening Chanchal, the acid attack survivor, with death threats, ever since they were released from jail.

The petition also asks the IG, Weaker Section, Patna, to provide protection to Chanchal and her family so that they can fight their case in a fair and proper manner. 

"They (the accused) told her that the acid attack would be nothing compared to what they would do next," states part of the petition which has already garnered over 43,600 signatures.

Speaking to The News Minute, Varsha says the men want Chanchal to withdraw her complaint.

“Ever since they got out, they have been threatening the family. ‘We will kill you,’ they say. They make rounds outside their house, and have also thrown bottles at the house. This has terrified the family,” she says.

On the night of October 21, 2012, the four men climbed onto the terrace of Chanchal's home, where she was sleeping along with her then 15-year-old sister Sonam. While two of them held her legs and hands, another threw acid on her face as she screamed and writhed in pain. 

Sonam, who is partially sighted, was also injured in the incident. 

“I did not know it was acid. It felt like someone had thrown hot water or oil on me. I was trembling and there was smoke coming off my body,” Chanchal told The Independent in 2013.

The motive behind the horrific attack was that the boys had been sexually harassing Chanchal on her way to college regularly for months and did not take it lightly when she opposed their advances. One even told her, “You take too much pride over your face. I will spoil it for you.”

The fact that Chanchal is a Dalit while the accused hailed from a higher caste also seemed to have played a crucial factor in the attack. They often told her that they could do anything and go scot free as she was a Dalit, a “powerless” one, states the report.

While her screams drew her parents and neighbours to the spot on that fateful night, the boys apparently did not even try to run away. “They were just laughing and enjoying the moment. They said, ‘Look, what we say we will do, we do’," Chanchal said. 

Dr Rakesh Kumar Kai, a cosmetic-surgeon, told the newspaper that she would need 15 surgeries. “She has lost all her face. She has no lips, eye-lids, the skin on her neck has fused with her chest. Also there is some loss of vision,” he said.

Parivartan Kendra is helping Chanchal fight her case and is also seeking a law to be implemented which would mandate better compensation along with rehabilitation facilities for acid attack survivors.

Chanchal wanted to become a Computer Engineer and her father, a daily wage labourer, supported her. Though her dreams were cut short, Chanchal plans to fight till the very end to get justice.

“Chanchal is a brave girl. She was supposed to receive a part of her compensation from the government the other day. I went to meet her. I saw her entering the house after me. Initially I thought she had just gone outside for some work. When I asked her, she told me she had just returned from college. She is pursuing BA in Sociology,” says Varsha.

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