Shaina, 33, a resident of Loni area in Delhi-NCR, was returning from college on August 11, 2009, when she was attacked with acid by a jilted lover. An activist for women’s rights, she demands speedy justice in crimes against women and death penalty for rapists.
I cannot forget that day. It was a beautiful evening. I was feeling a cool breeze after a spell of rain. I was returning from my college classes unaware of how things would change for me from that day onward. A man had been stalking me for several months and had proposed me time and again for marriage. That day he was on a two-wheeler with an accomplice. As soon as he came in front of me, I thought he would try to convince me once again. I was wrong. Angered by taking a no to his moves, he had carried a bottle of acid with him, which he threw on my face.
The pain was unbearable. Even while in pain, I tried to catch hold of him but he escaped. I felt my skin was melting and I cried for help. The passers-by were also shocked as they be seeing such a horrific incident in person for the first time.
They took me to the hospital but by that time, my face was had been severely damaged. The treatment was long and costly and even though I survived, I could not find the courage to see my face in mirror.
I fought a long legal battle and today both the attackers are behind the bars, serving life imprisonment.
That incident happened more than a decade ago. But when I look at social scenario today, not much has changed in these ten years. Like me, all the women who faced similar or more heinous crime, have to wait for years to get justice. Families of those who were raped and killed, like Nirbhaya, have to live often with disgrace, agony and pain. Laws after laws are being passed but the prevention of crime against women is not possible with a tardy justice system.
This is why most people, including me, feel that the Hyderabad Police is probably right in having killed the rapists and murderers of Dr Reddy, even though it has set a wrong precedent. What will the policemen do if the judicial system takes so long to hang such monsters?
The rapists and murderers of Nirbhaya are still in jail for years even after being awarded the capital punishment. One mercy petition after another is being filed for them to buy time. How long the parents of Nirbhaya seek justice? There has to be an end. There has to be a fear of law among such criminals. Without eminent threat of death, such heinous cases are hard to be prevented.
Not only the justice system but the police too needs to act fast on such complaints. There should be no laid back attitude by the agencies and immediate disciplinary action must be taken against those officers who are delaying investigation.
Today my life’s only aim is to fight against atrocities against women. I know I have lost a lot of things in life but the acid attack has given me a new motive to carry on. I am working with the Delhi Commission for Women as a Mahila Panchayat member and giving strength and providing all possible aid to women who face violence and sexual assault. Hope the governments work together in strengthening of laws, courts and police for effective action and quick justice in all such cases.