In a related case, three men who threw a jug of acid at a young girl for refusing their advances got just two years in jail. She was sleeping in her room when the perpetrators broke in and emptied the jug in her face. 26 operations down the line, this lady is appealing for tougher sanctions on those who carry out such crimes and recently went on the famous show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and was lucky enough to win about 30,000 pounds to continue reconstructive surgery.
- Sonali Mukherjee went on the quiz show to raise money for her treatment
- She has received no state funding since she suffered 95% burns to her face
- A spurned suitor and his friends threw chemicals over her face as she slept
- Sonali said her family had to sell all their gold and land to pay for her care
By BECKY EVANS
Sonali Mukherjee, 28, appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in December last year to raise money for her ongoing treatment and to highlight the plight of acid attack victims in her country.
She received no state funding after being severely disfigured when a spurned suitor and his friends broke into her room when she was just 17 and doused her body with chemicals.
Sonali told CNN: ‘My father spent every single penny. He sold our land, gold, everything to pay for treatment, hoping for justice.
‘In the end we lost everything while the criminals are out there.’
She has used jackpot money of Rs 25 lakhs – equivalent to almost £30,000 – to continue her recovery.
As well as paying for much needed treatment, Sonali said she hoped her appearance on the show, called Kaun Banega Crorepati, will raise awareness of the suffering of acid attack victims.
She told CNN: ‘I participated for two reasons. I needed the money but I wanted the world to know what an acid attack victim goes through in this country.’
Since the attack she has received no money from the state for her treatment and earlier this year she wrote to the Indian Government threatening to kill herself if she did not receive state aid.
Sonali said the acid, normally used to clean rusty tools, felt as if she had been ‘thrown into a fire’ and said she was in unbearable pain for the first four months.
She was a promising student in her hometown of Dhanbad, in the eastern Indian Jharkhand region, at the time of the attack, which saw her doused in a chemical called Tezaab.
Her attackers are currently out on bail.
Sonali, who now lives in New Delhi, was left partially blind and deaf as a result of her injuries.
Doctors treating Sonali said the burns were so bad that she had no ears, no eyelids and no scalp.
Sanjeev Bagai, doctor at CEO BLK Hospital, said: ‘The challenge was to give her something like a normal face – somewhere close to what a normal human being will look like.’
As well as the harrowing physical scars, the acid attack has left deep emotional scars on her family as well.
Sonali’s mother struggled to cope with the incident and her grandfather had a heart attack.
Her father Chandi Das Mukherjee told CNN: ‘Being the head of the family, I couldn’t afford to break down. My father died of shock and my wife broke down into depression.’
Despite her horrific injuries, Sonali has continually campaigned for tougher laws for acid attackers.
This year, the Indian government signed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, which brings in tougher punishment for those who commit violence against women.
Acid attack is now defined as a separate penal code offence and perpetrators are recommended to receive a sentence of between ten years and life imprisonment.
However, the stronger laws are unlikely to benefit Sonali in her legal case.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk