Paromita Bera is a young 20-something entrepreneur from West Bengal. She is an educated, self-reliant woman who is independent and serves as an inspiration to many others struggling. On the night of 29 May 2015, Paromita's life changed forever. A boy in her neighbourhood, who used to follow her around for many months, threw acid on her face. The reason? Paromita turned down his marriage proposal.
Facing harrassment on the streets, online or at the workplace is nothing new to Indian women. However, in rural India, deep-rooted patriarchal mindset and the relative ease at which acid is available in the markets, it becomes a potent weapon in the hands of such men.
The accused was caught the same morning and was in jail for three months. However, as the local police didn't file the chargesheet on time, he was released. "Those who say he did this for love or for marriage should know that he got married about 15 days before the incident. He just wanted to get any girl. And he couldn't take it that he was refused," says Paromita.
About a year and a half later when the police filed the chargesheet, all evidence against the accused was hidden. The public prosecutor did not receive any evidence from the police. "The utensil he used to pour acid was taken from my kitchen. It had his fingerprints. They also had his gamcha as evidence. But all of it was hidden," says Paromita.
After the attack, Paromita was taken to the hospital where her first operation was unsuccessful. Two weeks later, the second operation was successful. She lost vision in the right eye and hearing ability in the right ear. For sometime, she had trouble seeing in her left eye also. But with the help of experts, her vision was restored. In total, she has been operated 18 times and now leads a normal life. She enrolled herself in an open university and runs her own business. Paromita is an inspiration to everyone who is struggling. However, when will she get justice for the horrors committed to her?
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