At the age of 15, some men threw acid on Laxmi’s face leaving her scarred for life.
But she couldn’t be so easily defeated. Laxmi (now 23 years old) braved the awkward glances, ignored the taunts, learnt tailoring – only to be humiliated and rejected again and again. The resident of Ghaziabad’s Loni colony can’t find a job inspite of being qualified, just because her face is disfigured.
And the unfortunate part is that she is not the only one facing such trials.
Many such acid attack victims face discrimination on a daily basis.
In a bid to give voice to such victims, Alok Dixit has launched ‘Stop Acid Attack (SAA) campaign’.
“When we realised that these girls did not have anyone to help them, we began the Stop Acid Attack (SAA) campaign, to try and make sure that the voice of these victims is heard” says Dixit.
The campaign which began with just a handful of people now has volunteers from across the country. They have already rehabilitated 20 acid attack victims.
Acid attacks have been on the rise in the country, especially because of the easy availability of acid at very low prices in the market.
“We are planning to organise, demonstrations and flash mobs in the National Capital Region and Uttar Pradesh. Almost 30% of acid attacks take place in this region,” said Sumeet Shukla, a volunteer at SAA campaign.
In a hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Laxmi, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, came down heavily on the Central for not being able to prevent such incidents.
Laxmi had filed a PIL in 2006, demanding to restrict the sales of acid, which is available in grocery shops for a price as low as Rs 20.
“These girls have to face hardships every day. To even step out of their houses, they have cover their faces,” said Kanika Sharma, a friend of one of the victims.