Most acid attacks in India, are due to various reasons—dowry, spurned love, etc., and this crime has to be the most heinous, brutal and cowardly offence that anyone can commit. The victim is left maimed, and it takes a colossal toll, mentally and physically.
The ones behind the crime are rarely brought to justice, but a brave lady from Kolkata made sure her attackers were answerable to the law. However, she had to fight four hard years to ensure this.
In 2014, Sanchayita was going to a shop in Sethbagan, Dum Dum, accompanied by her mother. Suddenly, a biker came out of nowhere and threw acid at her face. While she tilted her head to one side, it did not help. Pain engulfed her face, as the acid ate into her skin. Little did she know, this was only the beginning of the ordeal.
For the next few months, Sanchayita and her mother struggled with multiple issues. There was a financial problem, so they had to take loans for Sanchayita’s hospital visits, and while the doctors tried to save her right eye, the damage was too extensive, and it couldn’t be saved. The duo also lodged a complaint with the cops, but the investigation didn’t move forward.
That is when help came forward in the form of an NGO which contacted Sanchayita. The NGO that helps acid attack survivors has stood by her since then. They helped her get in touch with a human rights NGO that assisted her in lodging a case in the Calcutta High Court, for police inaction.
It was 2017 when the case finally began. Sanchayita’s statement was recorded before a judicial magistrate’s court.
Speaking to TOI, An officer at Dum Dum police station, said, “As a lot of time had passed since the incident, it was tough to nab the attacker, but we managed to arrest the man from Sonarpur on Sunday night.”
When Sanchayita saw Soumen Saha, the attacker, at the police station, her pent-up anger boiled over, and she slapped him.
Sanchayita has been working with a human rights organisation since 2016 and draws her strength working for those who have suffered similar fates. For her, his victory was a triumph over all the social stigma and the emotional scars that come with an acid attack.
Finally, after four years of fighting a cruel society, tackling indifferent cops and bearing a snail-paced judicial system, Sanchayita has won some semblance of justice.
Featured image inset photo credit: Ebela.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)