Shailesh Paswan, 43, is a distraught man. His morning starts with the cries of her daughter and it ends after he and his wife Sunaina Devi, have cleaned the wounds of her daughter and put her in the bed.
A daily labourer from Chitnava village in Maner near Patna, last year on 21 October, he woke up to frantic cries of her daughters, Chanchal,19 and her 15 year old minor sister, who were attacked by 4 person who threw acid on them while they were sleeping on the terrace of their house.
“The caste culture in our area is very strong and the fact that my daughter, a lower caste girl and that too a girl, was attending school and stepping out of the house was not acceptable to them. Initially, she would come and tell me that they pass objectionable comments whenever she goes to school, so I told her to ignore them. I had never realized that I would have to pay such a heavy price for this. My daughter was a bright student and was doing computer course. We had thought of so many things for her. After she was born, I underwent vasectomy so that we could build their future. ”, Shailesh said.
His trouble did not end there. When he brought her daughters to Patna to the prestigious Patna Medical College Hospital, there also he was subjected to ‘torture’. “Bohat pareshan kiya humlogo ko, kaafi torture kiya. Nurse dawai ka bottle tod deti tee, doctor batameeji se baat karta tha. Baad mai hum woh aspatal chod deeye. Ab usko hum Safdarjung mai dikhwa rahe hain.”(They tortured us very much, the nurse would break the medicine bottle and the doctor would shout at us for no reasons. Later, we left that hospital. Now she is getting treatment at Safdarjung hospital, Delhi)
“None of the leaders came to meet me. We have given representation to everyone including Nitishji but nothing is happening. How will I afford her treatment? The accused are also pressurizing me to arrive at a compromise.” Shailesh asks.
Speaking to me, Chanchal said that she had dreams of attending college, getting married, but all now all of them have been shattered. “Anil Rai had wrong intentions towards me and since I was resisting him, he threw the acid. They came to my house and while holding me down, they poured the acid on my face”, she recalled.
“Please write that I am living in so much pain, I cannot see as I have suffered more than 90 percent burns on my face. No one from my college or school ever comes to meet me“,Chanchal said.
She demanded that the accused in the case should be given the severest of punishment. “My life is all shattered and I have no future. Please ask the government to help me and my sister who too suffered injuries while trying to save me”, Chanchal said
The four accused in the case, Anil,Ghanshyam,Baadal and Raj, all have been arrested and after relentless pressure from social activists, the case has been put on fast track.
“Initially the parents were facing hostility from everywhere including from the government and the hospital. It has been more than 5 months since the police promised that they would record the evidence of Chanchal under section 164 but that has not happened till now. The main accused is now pleading that he is a juvenile, which is not true. The initial compensation of Rs 2.4 lakh that the government gave to them has been spent on travelling and treatment”, Varsha Jawalgekar, a social activist with Parivartan Kendra organization, who has been following up on Chanchal’s case said.