It was a street play to create awareness about the agony of acid victims. Apart from the theatre artistes, the victims themselves appeared as campaigners in the play that demanded a stricter law to punish the assailants. Delhi-based group ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ came to Ludhiana to perform a street play following the acid attack on Harpreet Kaur in a Sarabha Nagar beauty parlour on her wedding day on December 7. Harpreet died on December 28 in a Mumbai hospital.
The street play was held by the Ludhiana-based Sangharsh group in co-ordination with the Delhi-based group. The victims campaigned for their cause by not hiding their faces but presenting themselves the way they are. Laxmi, the main campaigner, was attacked in 2005, when she was 14 years old, by a 32-year-old man who wanted to marry her.
Laxmi said,”The acid attack was revenge for saying no to that man. He planned it with his brother’s girlfriend. They were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment the same year. They will be out of jail next year.” She said that 10 years in prison was no punishment for the life-long torture she had to face. She suffered facial as well as body injuries. Laxmi is the sole earning member of her family. Her younger brother is a TB patient, her father is no more, and mother has to take care of brother, she said. She supports her family by participating in the activities of the group.
The group has about 60 acid attack victims from different parts of the country as campaigners. Of them, 12 are in Delhi. Alok Dikshit, the man behind the group, was a Kanpur-based journalist who had done a number of stories on the issue but realised that it was not helping the victims.
“To help the victims and create awareness, Stop Acid Attacks group started an awareness drive,” said Dikshit. He said a number of survivors cannot travel due to injuries while a few others have gone blind. The group was formed on March 8.