Laxmi, a victim of acid attack has been selected by the US for the prestigious International Women of Courage Award.

Ms. Laxmi would receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama at an awards ceremony in Washington.

She was 16 when an acquaintance threw acid on her face while she waited at a bus stop in New Delhi’s Khan Market in 2005, disfiguring her permanently.

“Many acid attack victims never return to normal life: they often go to great lengths to hide their disfigurement, many forgo education or employment rather than appear in public, and suicide is not uncommon. But Laxmi did not hide,” the State Department said.

“She became the standard-bearer in India for the movement to end acid attacks. She made repeated appearances on national television, gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, and took her cause to the Indian Supreme Court,” it said.

“Laxmi’s petition led the Supreme Court to order the Indian central and state governments to regulate immediately the sale of acid, and the Parliament to make prosecutions of acid attacks easier to pursue,” the State Department said.

“Much is left to be done, and Laxmi continues to advocate on behalf of acid attack victims throughout India for increased compensation, effective prosecution and prevention of acid attacks, and rehabilitation of survivors,” it said.

This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide.

Among other awardees are Nasrin Oryakhil (Afghanistan), Roshika Deo (Fiji), Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze (Georgia), Iris Yassmin Barrios Aguilar (Guatemala), Fatimata Toure (Mali), Maha Al Muneef (Saudi Arabia), Oinikhol Bobonazarova (Tajikistan), Ruslana Lyzhychko (Ukraine) and Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe).

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