She covers her face with her dupatta as she sits on a charpoy in the verandah of her small house. She does not want anyone to see her face,which was burnt in an acid attack in 2007. She needs someone’s help for her daily chores because while one of her eyes has no vision,only five to seven per cent vision is left in the other.
Rajwant Kaur (20) was one of the three victims of an acid attack,which happened when three friends were on way to work at a thread making factory. While Sandeep Kaur died after struggling for three months in hospital,Sonika got away with minor injuries. The girls were attacked because they had complained against a boy who had been harassing them.
Rajwant still remembers April 1,2007. “On March 31,2007 three of us (all residents of Baba Jeewan Singh Nagar) had complained to the factory owner about Balkar Singh Bunty,a coworker. He was misbehaving with us. The owner kicked Bunty out of job the same day,” she said. The next day,when the girls were coming down from the staff bus,Bunty – who was waiting with a mug of acid – poured it on them.
Seven years later,the court is yet to give its verdict in the case,though Bunty is in jail. On every hearing,the families of Sandeep and Rajwant go to the court. “The next date of hearing is on December 19. We miss our day’s work on the day of hearing and spend money for transport to reach the court,” said Joginder Singh,Rajwant’s father,who is a factory worker.
Balwinder Kaur,Rajwant’s mother,added: “We cannot even leave her alone because she cannot see. She never goes out with us due to the burns all over her face and arms. We never got any relief from the authorities,though we visited the then minister Hira Singh Gabria a number of times.” Rajwant has two brothers who are doing small jobs.\
“Now,we have heard that Rs 3 lakh will be given as compensation to victims of acid attack on Supreme Court’s orders. But we never got anything,though NGOs helped us in the treatment of the girls,”\ she said.
Sandeep’s mother,Parkash Kaur,said,”Around Rs 13 lakh was spent on my daughter’s treatment in three months. All was donated by good samaritans,but my daughter could not be saved. For the last seven years,we have been going to the court regularly,often just to get another date.”
While Rajwant is being treated with the help of a voluntary donations account in CMCH,off and on,the family has to do spend money in case medicines are not available at the CMCH drug store. “I am thankful to the hospital and the donors for helping us,but we are living a hell of life,” Joginder Singh said.
He had met the DC Rajat Aggarwal and was assured that Rajwant would be given disability pension. When contacted,Aggarwal said the matter has been cleared and the girl will start getting pension soon.
However,the amount is only Rs 250 per month. “Rajwant cannot do any work. The DC said he can help my sons get jobs in private factories. But will that give a better life to Rajwant? asked Joginder.
“The court should punish the culprit soon. At least one member of each family should be given a government jobs or a fixed deposit be opened in the victim’s name,” said Parkash.