New Delhi: A 27-year-old victim of an acid attack has been struggling to get justice for the past nine years. All her pleas, however, have fallen on deaf ears and her perpetrators are roaming scot-free. The distraught girl has now demanded euthanasia as her family cannot meet her medical costs.
Sonali Mukherjee's story displays the raw indifference of the society and our inability to protect those who can't protect themselves. It is the tale of courage of a young woman who underwent a life-changing circumstance. Join CNN-IBN in its campaign to help the girl, who says she has only two best friends - her father and God.
"I am going through a lot... I have lost my sight... I cannot see the world around me.. My father has spent everything, his land, jewellery, to keep me alive... He sold everything," says Sonali.
"My life before... and after the acid attack... there is a world of a difference... I had dreams... I wanted to do something... to achieve something..."
Sonali still struggles to wipe out the memories of that fateful night nine years ago.
It was in her hometown of Dhanbad, Jharkhand, in April 2003 when three neighbouring youth poured acid on her while she slept, all because she had dared to complain against their eve teasing.
"When I warned them, they told me I was haughty and proud about my looks. They said they will ruin my face beyond recognition. And when that did not deter me, they carried through their threat and you can see the consequences."
Sonali has been forced to do the rounds of the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi every few weeks, all in the hope that the government doctors there will put her on the path to a speedy recovery.
Sonali's tormentors, however, spent just three years in jail. The Mukherjees appealed in court and to the Jharkhand government after they began receiving fresh threats. But their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Sonali's father, Chandi Das Mukherjee says, "We appealed in the High Court... Nothing happened. They were sent to jail but were released soon after... Now they are busy enjoying their lives..."
Says Sonali, "I want justice from the judiciary... I don't want to live. At least, give me the right to die..."
In dire need of medical and financial aid, Sonali can now only pray that no other girl has to suffer her fate.
"The law needs to toughen up. Otherwise we will have many more Sonalis... The law should be strict so that those who think of breaking it think twice before doing their act," she says.
Join CNN-IBN's campaign to help Sonali rebuild her life
Send donations to:
Chandi Das Mukherjee
A/C - 479810110006640
Bank of India, Jaina More Branch
IFSC Code: BKID0004798