On 21/10/2012, four men threw acid on Chanchal Paswan, 19 and her sister,15 while they were asleep on their terrace. The attack was a direct result of Chanchal’s opposition to continuous sexual harassment by the men. A video report by IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent, Varsha Jawalgekar shows the family speaking about the incident.
Five months on, Chanchal still has a long way to go before she fully recovers and wins her legal battle. But Chanchal is not going to give up easily; in this video she speaks out and demands justice for herself. Video Volunteers along with local advocacy groups like Parivarthan Jan Andolan, Parivarthan Kendra and Change.org, amongst others will stand by her. We want the Paswan family’s appeal for justice to go public.
On 6th March 2013, Varsha Jawalgekar, along with Video Volunteers and Change.org, is organising a press conference in Patna to discuss details of the case.The conference will be at 2pm at Season’s Family Restaurant, 1st Floor, Grand Plaza.
More on the Case:
Anil, Ghanshyam, Baadal and Raj had been harassing Chanchal and her family for a long time. They would follow her on the streets, in auto-rickshaws, would pass vulgar comments and sexually harass her. When she refused to give in to their demands, they threw acid on her.
The four perpetrators have been arrested by the police. Chanchal is 19 years old and an earning member of the family. Almost five months after the incident the Paswan family is still waiting for a speedy trial. They also spending money on Chanchal’s medicines, instead of the state and both the sisters have got less compensation than they deserve- because the police hasn’t taken her official statement under section 164 yet.
For the last four months the Paswan family has been waiting for justice, going from one court to another, Chanchal needs your support in getting speedy justice and compensation. Especially in light of the fact that after the Justice Verma Committee report and last years Delhi gang rape case, the Chief Justice of India has asked for stricter laws against women atrocities.
The video report by Video Volunteers Community Correspondent and women’s rights activist, Varsha Jawalgekar was used to launch an online petition in partnership with Change.org (DM Patna: ensure justice for Chanchal Paswan). The petition has received more than 28000 signatures from all over the world.
Chanchal’s Current Medical Status:
1. PMCH has done a very basic skin graft, which has not healed properly.
2. Her eyes are stretched, as the grafting was not properly done. She cannot close her eyes properly.
3. On her neck, the burnt tissue has formed a mass and wound.
4. The wound on her chest are still serious and the ones on her back have not healed.
5. PMCH discharged her at the end of January 2013 hurriedly. They even misguided the family saying she will get infection in the hospital. They did this, as there was increasing pressure on them by Parivartan Jan Andolan/ Parivartan Kendra and on the police as well.
6. Chanchal’s family has been purchasing medication with their limited finances ever since the incident. On 2nd March, Varsha Jawalgekar and other activists visited PMCH and asked why the hospital was not able to provide Chanchal and her sister the medication that they had prescribed. After much discussion with local medical representatives (who take commission on sale of medication), they forced the administration to give Chanchal’s parents some of the prescribed medications free of cost.
7. The family has been receiving threats from some people in the community and have been unable to resume their livelihood activities.
B. Current Status of Chanchal’s case with Police and Court:
1. We have reports from reliable sources that the DIG, Weaker Sections, has given directions to the police station not to take Chanchal’s statement under Section 164.
2. Chanchal has been treated as a minor when she is a major and also treated as a non-earner when she was an earning member of her family. By misrepresenting her age and earning capacity, the state has awarded her less compensation than what she is entitled to under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
3. There has been no direction from the Police to the Court recommending Chanchal’s case for a speedy trial.
4. Chanchal’s father, Shailesh Paswan has tried to follow up on the case in Court. The Danapur Magistrate’s Court said it has been transferred to the District Court. When he reached the District court, they said it is still with the lower court. Till date, there is no trace of Chanchal’s case file.
Immediate Intervention Required:
1. Chanchal’s statement must be recorded under Section 164, as it will ensure that the names of the accused are included in the FIR. Her previous statement was recorded just after the attack when she was in too much pain to speak clearly and name her attackers.
2. The case must be sent for swift trial.
3. Funds need to be raised for Chanchal’s treatment, plastic surgery and legal fees.
4. The Court and the State must ensure proper compensation and rehabilitation for Chanchal and her family.
Many have offered various forms of support to Chanchal’s family. But more needs to be done. It is with this in mind that we are trying to mobilise more resources for Chanchal her sister and her family. We hope you will join us in doing so.