With no sign of remorse, convict Suresh Kumar says he will go for appeal

The accused Suresh Kumar stood in the middle of a packed courtroom that was all hushed up and huddled together to hear the pronouncement.

Reading out the verdict, Judge Vaidyanathan posed the customary query to Suresh Kumar on his thoughts on the verdict. Showing no signs of remorse, Suresh said he would appeal to the High Court.

Outside the courtroom, a pensive Jayabalan, standing under the shade of a neem tree, was yet to come to terms with the loss of his only child. Eyes welled up with tears, he could only wish for what his daughter had wished for even as she battled for her life. “No other girl should suffer what I had suffered. There should not be another Vinodhini.” That was what she told me from the hospital bed. She wanted this to end with her. “My daughter died on a Tuesday, and justice has been served on a Tuesday,” Mr. Jayabalan said.

The road to justice has also been transformative for the family that now seeks to set up a trust in her name. Vinodhini Memorial Trust is being set up out of the funds received for her treatment.

According to Ramesh, Vinodhini’s cousin, who has since taken up the family’s fight for justice, the trust will support medical aid and education for girls and victims of similar acid attacks.”

The family seeks to reach out to the family of Vidhya, a Dalit girl, who also suffered an acid attack in Aadambakkam near Chennai. Vidhya, who suffered the attack on January 30, died a week after Vinodhini succumbed to her injuries in February.

“Karaikal police and the prosecution had done a remarkable job. But, we are clueless about the status of Vidhya’s case,” says Ramesh.

Jayabalan recollects Vidhya’s words when they had gone to meet her at the hospital. Vidhya wanted to donate her eyes to Vinodhini, whose vision was lost in the attack. Vidhya’s eyes were harvested on her death.

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