Chanchal Paswan, whose case and appeal prompted SC to add acid attack victims in disability list, dead

Chanchal wasn’t just a survivor, but also fighter till her last breath for the rights of acid attack survivors.

Written by Nandini Rathi | New Delhi | Updated: June 27, 2017 5:36 pm
chanchal paswan, acid attack survivor, Chanchal Paswan. Image credit: Stop Acid Attacks Facebook page

Chanchal Paswan, 24-year-old acid attack survivor, passed away on Thursday afternoon at about 1:10 PM as she was being rushed to the hospital from her home in Chhitnawan village within Maner block in Patna district, due to medical complications which rose from disruption of her breathing through the nose.

Chanchal wasn’t just a survivor, but also a fighter till her last breath for the rights of acid attack survivors.

On October 21, 2012, four assailants attacked 19-year-old Chanchal by pouring acid on her face as she slept on the rooftop of her home. The acid also burned her younger sister, Sonam, who had been sleeping beside her. College-going Chanchal, who had been the prime target, had earlier too faced sexual harassment from the same men. The assailants had also been terrorising her family, threatening to damage and destroy her face if she didn’t agree to their demands of having sexual relations with them. Chanchal’s family was Dalit, while the assailants belonged to a higher caste.

 

Several obstacles came in the way of the sisters’ treatment — which was extremely delayed and inadequate from the start. They eventually received a sum of Rs 2,42,000 from the Government of Bihar, but by then Rs 5 Lakh had already been spent on their still on-going treatment. In April 2013, Chanchal, along with Varsha Jawalgekar, activist and founder-director of Bihar-based NGO Parivartan Kendra, went on to file a Public Interest Litigation with the Supreme Court of India to demand full rehabilitation for acid attack victims.

On December 7, 2015, announcing its decision in Parivartan Kendra v/s Union of India, the Supreme Court directed all states and union territories to include acid attack victims in the disability list in response to the writ petition filed by NGO Parivartan Kendra highlighting the plight of acid attack victims and the inadequacy of the payable compensation. This made acid attack victims eligible for the same rights, benefits and reservation as disabled persons — a crucial win from the perspective of gaining employment.

The court also ordered the state to pay Rs 13 lakh as compensation to the Paswan sisters. “Before Chanchal’s case, the compensation was of Rs 25,000, since at the time when she was attacked, even the decision on Laxmi case had not been announced. With this particular decision, the court made it 52x the amount”, says Jawalgekar. “It also said that the compensation amount should increase if an acid attack victim in future suffered greater burns, which were 28 per cent in Chanchal’s case”, she adds. Most importantly, Supreme Court directed all private hospitals of the country to provide free treatment to acid attack victims, inclusive of medicines and expensive reconstructive surgeries.

Chanchal herself did not get to benefit much from the Supreme Court decision, but her indomitable spirit refused to give up without a fight. She had recently given her third year exams for B.A. Political Science. “This is a personal loss for me because when one gets tired of fighting alone, looking up to another fighter is a boost for that flagging morale. That is what Chanchal had come to be for me,” says Jawalgekar who first met her 15-20 days after the attack. “She was exemplary in sustaining a difficult fight, against all odds”, she says.

The assailants — Anil Rai, Ghanshyam Rai, Badal and Raja — had been jailed for a few months after the incident, on charges of Attempt to Murder, but after that have mostly been out on bail. On various occasions, they continued to harass and terrorise Chanchal and her family, Jawalgekar said.  

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  1. N
    Noyb
    Jun 25, 2017 at 8:00 am
    "Anil Rai, Ghanshyam Rai, Badal and Raja" Faces of Hindoo terrorism!
    Reply
    1. K
      Kulmohan Singh
      Jun 25, 2017 at 5:19 am
      Rather than spending 2 billion dollar buying fighter planes from the US, India needs to invest in widespread use of CCTVs to improve women security
      Reply
      1. E
        Employ Ment
        Jun 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm
        योजना ✔मोदी जी द्वारा चलाए गए डिजिटल इन्डिया से जुड़े और 15,000 - 50,000 रुपए ✔अब कोई नही रहेगा बेरोज़गार और नही करेगा कोई बेरोज़गार आत्महत्या ✔क्योंकि अब आ गई है 21वीं सदी की सबसे बड़ी रोज़गार क्रांति ✔हमारा सपना पूरे भारत को ही नही पूरी दुनिया को डिजिटल इंडिया से जोड़ना सबका साथ सबका विकास ➡शुरुवात कैसे करे ✔C.h.a.m.p`C.a.s.h को प्ले स्टोर से इन्स्टल करे, और साइन अप करे, $1 डॉलर बोनस : 468942 ➡चैलेंज को पूरा करे ➡और इंकम करनी शुरू करे 👇🏻इसे जरूर नोट कर ले👇🏻 : 468942 ........................ Hgsgehbhshsjhshjeis
        Reply
        1. C
          Chirwat
          Jun 24, 2017 at 9:22 am
          Bihar .....! Need we say anything more !
          Reply
          1. A
            arati
            Jun 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm
            There are acid attackers and their victims all over India - not only bihar. But the compensation is too low for the massive loss the victims endure and the punishment is too less for the gravity of the crime they perpetrate in this case. There should only hanging till death as a punishment in this case. Look at the criminals. They are terrorising the miserable victims after coming out on bail and look at the law makers - who allow such misery to be continually be happening. It is a wonder that these people are called human beings? do they not have any idea what they have done to the lives of the victims?
            Reply
          2. D
            Dr. Leo Gomez
            Jun 24, 2017 at 8:52 am
            Are you willing to legally sell your kidney for money ? Contact us with your following information's for more details. Name: Age: : Blood group: Date of Birth: Telephone Number: Dr. Leo Gomez kennephrologist1
            Reply
            1. R
              RAJAMONI
              Jun 24, 2017 at 7:52 am
              The acid attacker should be hanged in the public and it seems he is roaming freely on bail.This will further encourage to continue the attrocities on dalits.Thousands of years ,the dalits are facing the same problem. IS THERE NO END FOR THE ATTROCITIES ON DALITS?
              Reply
              1. S
                Shekhar
                Jun 23, 2017 at 4:21 pm
                Govt. should take care of all expenses for such survivors. Its their inefficiency that the things are openly sold in the market. I solely held the Govt. second to the inhuman who did such insane act. May her soul rest in peace and let her take care of the attackers in her own way.
                Reply
                1. E
                  Employ Ment
                  Jun 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm
                  योजना ✔मोदी जी द्वारा चलाए गए डिजिटल इन्डिया से जुड़े और 15,000 - 50,000 रुपए ✔अब कोई नही रहेगा बेरोज़गार और नही करेगा कोई बेरोज़गार आत्महत्या ✔क्योंकि अब आ गई है 21वीं सदी की सबसे बड़ी रोज़गार क्रांति ✔हमारा सपना पूरे भारत को ही नही पूरी दुनिया को डिजिटल इंडिया से जोड़ना सबका साथ सबका विकास ➡शुरुवात कैसे करे ✔C.h.a.m.p`C.a.s.h को प्ले स्टोर से इन्स्टल करे, और साइन अप करे, $1 डॉलर बोनस : 468942 ➡चैलेंज को पूरा करे ➡और इंकम करनी शुरू करे 👇🏻इसे जरूर नोट कर ले👇🏻 : 468942 ........................ Jhshhdujdidhusiid
                  Reply
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