Fighting Phoenix : Story of Ritu

Every year the alarming statistics of acid attacks come to light. According to a report published in “The Indian Express”, there is 300% rise in acid attacks in last three years. The acid attack survivors go through a deep dark phase. At an age when girls think about careers and relationships these survivors go through the struggle of getting a figured face. The agony and ordeal they go through is not easy to be faced.

While many survivors lose the hope in between their struggle there are girls who led by their example and fight for the justice.

On May 26, 2012 the life of Ritu, daughter of Sita Ram Saini, an automobile mechanic and a resident of Rohtak, Haryana became a living nightmare. The fall out of a property dispute changed her life overnight. She faced an acid attack which was plotted by her relatives.

Her parents had never dreamt of her daughter naming among the victims of crimes against women.

She was a student of Class Sixth in Saini High School in Rohtak when she fall in love with volleyball. She used to go to court everyday for her practice. She left her home like any other day totally unnerved about the phase that was going to start. She reached the Prem Nagar Chowk around four in evening, two men approached her on a bike. Before she could sense anything the pillion rider splashed acid over her.

Since that day a difficult journey from despair to hope started for her.

Everybody at that place crowded around her as she laid there squirming in pain but nobody stepped forth for help.  It was her elder Brother who spotted her there and rushed her to the Post Graduate Institute Of Medical Sciences in a police van.She had put her hand up to her face and the skin started peeled off. She can never forget the agony that she felt as acid tricked down her face onto her neck. She opened her eyes around her Parents in Hospital Ward Room. In her parents eyes she could see her forever disfigured face. She was in intensive care unit for seven days. From that day every second that pasts she asks herself a single question that what had she done to deserve this cruelty. But her burns were more than an acid attack. Her aunt Rajwanti had hired two men to target her parents over property dispute.

Once she was a happy go girl full of dreams and desires. She loved herself like anyone, she loved getting dressed up for her birthdays, she loved to live life to the fullest but now her life was within a hospital room. Her school, volleyball court everything was there but all this now reminded her the pain she had gone through. She herself could not recognize her face. The girl in her photo albums was gone. She had 45% of her body burnt, 90% of her face was damaged and acid had also affected her eyes.

But the journey began that day when she decided that she’ll fight the legal fight till the end. Police filled the charge sheet after the five months of incident three of the accused were booked under section 307 and five were booked under section 120 B. When Punjab and Haryana High Courts had granted bail to Rajwanti and Raju she had approached higher courts so look into the to ensure speedy justice.

Though initially she totally withdrew herself from friends and family but the support of her three brothers mounted her from darkness. Her father is the sole bread earner for the family of six members. Her medical expenses had added to his burden. She had received a help for her plastic surgery from State Government under Relief and Rehabilitation of Women Acid victim Scheme.

Her painful days and sleepless nights got an end when she started working at “Sheroes Hangout” and started campaigning for “Stop Acid Attacks”. She started recovering both on mental and physical level when she started helping Rupa at Sheroes in her dream project , “A design Home”.

As a campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks the message she wants to convey to the whole world is that there must be no room for violence in the lives of people. To burn, ma me, disfigure or mutilate another human being is far from humanity. If these crimes happening around us, we must once condemn these, and recognize the need to embrace peace and compassion.

The burns on her body has never be able to burn the courage in her heart. She is a true inspiration.

Pictures Source : hindustantimes. com,                                      

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