Nine years after acid attack, she still receives death threats

Nine years after an acid attack left Sonali Mukherjee blind in both eyes, partially deaf and melted away the skin on the skull, neck, chest and back, the 27-year-old is running penniless from pillar to post in Delhi for help from the government or permission for euthanasia.

From Dhanbad, where she was drenched with acid by three of her neighbours after having been subjected to years of sexual harassment, Ms. Mukherjee and her family abandoned their home after she started receiving threat calls from the attackers following their release from jail.

“The darkness of the night of April 2 refuses to leave our lives. Before the attack I was harassed and followed around for nearly two and a half years. Scared and frustrated, I complained to my father, who was a watchman in a mill. My father requested the boys to leave me alone, but to no avail. One night it came in the ugliest form – acid. My younger sister was also injured in the attack but she escaped with major injuries,”’ says Ms. Mukherjee.

Ms. Mukherjee approached the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which, in turn, forwarded her request for help from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Running like fugitives

Meanwhile, Ms. Mukherjee and her father, now without a steady source of income, are shuttling between Jharkhand and Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital for treatment. “I am alive and moving around because of the doctors at Safdarjung Hospital. But I lost my grandfather who went into shock after the attack, while my mother slipped into depression. The worst, however, are the continuing death threats that we are receiving from the attackers. They have now threatened to attack my sister and brother and kill my parents. We have been running like fugitives to escape them.”

Her last hope, she says, is government intervention: “If it doesn’t come through, I request permission to die.’’

We have received several offers of help from our readers for Shonali Mukherjee. She can be contacted through her brother Devashish Mukherjee @ 09437638600.

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