#India- Sonali Mukherjee Rises From The Ashes #Vaw #Acidattack


Rising from the ashes

Nov 24, 2012, Deccan Herald

SHEER GRIT

SonaLi Mukherjee, an acid attack victim who once wanted to end her life, is now awaiting facial reconstruction surgery. And with that a new life, says Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Sonali Mukherjee. Pic COURTESY WFS.

Pic- Kamayani Bali Mahabal

As I went to meet Dhanbad-based Sonali Mukherjee, who was visiting Mumbai to be in a special episode of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, various emotions raced through me. Then the door opened and a peppy voice broke through, “Didi aa jaye, aaj khana late ho gaya, aap bhi kha lo (I am having a late lunch, please join me).” I had heard about Sonali’s case. She had been subjected to an acid attack nine years ago when she was 17, but I had not expected this bright young woman who stood before me.

I smiled back and told her I will wait until she ate. As her father guided her into the room after lunch, I realised her eyesight loss was total. I hugged her before we began our conversation on the struggles of her life.

She started with an irony: It was her call for euthanasia that gave her a new lease of life. “Until July this year I was a victim. Now I am a survivor. My friends and family had abandoned me when I needed them most. But the media and people I didn’t even know came forward to help me live,” she said.

The Mumbai-based NGO, Beti, in association with a media group, has raised Rs 30 lakh as part of Project Hope, which aims to give Sonali a new identity with the help of facial reconstruction. The 22 surgeries will be carried out at the B L Kapur Super Specialty Hospital in Rajendra Place, New Delhi.

Clad in a white salwar kameez with a colourful collar — white is a favourite hue — she wore goggles before getting photographed. “I don’t want the world to see me this way because I hope to be like any other woman soon,” she said referring to her impending surgeries. She added, “Yeh aadhi adhorri zindagi aadhe chehre ke saath nahi jeeni hai mujhey (I don’t want to live half a life, with half a face).”

She grew up in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. History and Hindi had enthused her as a school student and the freedom movement and Indian scriptures inspired her. “I loved being a National Cadet Core (NCC) recruit,” she remarked. College followed. She opted for sociology and planned to pursue a PhD, and go into academics. She also enjoyed films and was a big fan of Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan. “I saw all their movies — loved dancing to Aishwarya’s numbers.”  She stopped here to poignantly remark that she hoped one day to re-gain her vision and watch films again.

Sonali, having experienced the horrific consequences of violence against women, had obviously thought deeply on the subject, “In India, women are advised to avoid sexual predators. But, think about it, society is directly responsible for the sexual harassment women face. Its patriarchal approach encourages men to ‘tease’ women, it’s seen as a ‘manly’ thing to do. In my case, we had complained to the parents about the behaviour of their children, but they did nothing.”

She also referred to the epics, “Take the Ramayana. You have Rama denouncing his pregnant wife and ordering her to spend her life in exile even though she had accompanied him to the jungle to share in his afflictions. Why did Ram ‘rescue’ Sita if he was going to subject her to an ‘agnipariksha’ (trial by fire)?”

Rewinding to the dreadful night on April 22, 2003, she revealed that the family was sleeping on the open terrace of their home, “Around 2.30 am I woke up with a sharp, burning sensation.” She felt her face, neck, right ear, the right part of her chest, and lower torso melt away. “Three men, who had been harassing me for weeks, had jumped over from the neighbour’s roof and doused me with acid. I suffered 70 per cent burns while my sister who lay nearby suffered 20 per cent burns,” she recalled.

The words she used were searing. “Us raat laga main maut ke aalingan main pighal gayi, zindagi mano thaher gayi, woh ek lamha zindagi aur maut ke beech atak gaya (that night I felt I was engulfed in the arms of death and life stood still; in that one moment I was stuck between life and death).”

It was a huge crisis for the family. Her father, Chandidas Mukherjee, employed with a private company, had to quit his job to be with her after the attack and the family shifted to their ancestral home in Kasmar, in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district. All the three youths involved in the attack were sentenced to nine years of imprisonment by the district court. They later managed to secure bail from the high court and began threatening the family.
A paltry sum of Rs 200 per month was made available to her from the government as a disability allowance. The entire sum went in medicines. The pain was overpowering. “For the first six months, I would scream in pain and sometimes fall unconscious. I would plead with God to kill me,” Sonali recalled.

She then decided to search for justice. “My father and I met the chief minister, all the legislators, NGOs. I even approached the National Commission for Women – after all, it was not just my case but that of hundreds of other women who face violence every day. The NCW gave me assurances, but apart from providing quotes to the media they did nothing. It was then that I decided to demand my right to die.”

Legally, there is no separate provision for acid attacks in the existing law. They are dealt with through Sections 320, 322, 325 and 326 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Of these only Section 326 refers to being attacked with a corrosive object but categorises it as ‘grievous hurt.’ Although this section allows punishment up to life imprisonment, most convicts get only a jail term of three to four years. Compensation, if ordered, is often paltry.

Says Sushma Varma of Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attack on Women (CSAAAW), Bangalore, “CSAAW has documented around 75 cases from 1999 to 2012 in Karnataka. But there are many unreported cases. The National Crime Records Bureau cannot provide data because these attacks are not registered under a separate law or section. We want to stress that this is gendered sexual violence and needs to be recognised under a separate section of 326A.”

Shruti Pandey, a Delhi-based Human Rights lawyer, agrees that there is an urgent need to amend the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code to specifically recognise acid attacks as a crime. “But it must also be seen as a sexual offence. Most acid attacks are made on women and for sexual reasons. Equally importantly we need legal provisions for compensation and rehabilitation. There should be a dedicated fund set up for immediate and assured availability of monies for the survivor’s medical treatment as well as for their psycho-social support, reparation, and rehabilitation. Also, the trial needs to be fast-tracked keeping in view the severity of the crime,” states Pandey.

Sonali also believes that the sale, use and storage of acid should be strictly regulated. She wants women to step up their campaign against violence. “Campaigns like One Billion Rising (OBR) are important because they signal global solidarity on the issue. We need to come together beyond borders to battle such violence. Look what happened to Malala in Pakistan. But, apart from social campaigns, we also need justice delivery. Only then can we have a gender just society,” she said.

Two lines from a song penned by Kabir Suman, a Kolkata-based singer and political activist, expressed my thoughts as I emerged from my meeting with Sonali: ‘One day you will see the face, smiling in the mirror, Sonali/Till then this song remains, waiting in your favour…’

WFS

#India- Acid attack: Netizens want ‘coward’ caught #VAW


TNN | Nov 10, 2012, 12.44AM IST

MUMBAI: The online world has been abuzz with news of the chemical attack on Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, with netizens asking for help in finding the suspect Jerrit John, 46.

Director-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted: “Shame on you Jerrit John. Now come out of hiding, you coward.” Akhtar posted a picture of John and wrote: “If you spot this man please dial 100 and refer case to Dadar police station.”

Simran Channey, a marketing manager at a film firm, tweeted, “Man, you can never know when someone will lose it! Jerrit was someone I had worked with, was a loser, but never thought he’d be a woman beater and would throw (a chemical) on a woman. It’s sickening me since morning.”

Human Rights activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal blogged: “Jerrit has been asking friends to say that they did not hear anything or see anything. Jerrit, seriously, you think we will be quiet? You may have deleted your Facebook profile, but you can’t be on the run for long.”

Dipti Shah wrote on the networking page of Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts: “So, so angry. Cycling is all about fun and not anger nor frustration nor revenge. So all you jerks and frustrated leeks, be it lust, be it power, be it personal vendetta – stay away. There’s no room here for you cowards.”

Jerrit John of No Nonsense production house throws Chemical/ Acid on a friend #VAW


( IF YOU SEE THIS MAN DIAL  100, HE IS ABSCONDING- REFER CASE DADAR POLICE STATION )

By- Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Who is Jerrit G  John?

Unfortunately, I know Jerrit G John, as I was part of India‘s first cycle flash mob which ran into controversy.   India’s first bicycle flash  mob was at bandra on  May 19, 2012.  I was introduced to the cycle gang through a  common friend,  in the First week of May when we all used to gather in the evening for  our dance rehearsals  in Juhu. There I made new friends, and among them were Aryanka and Jerrit.

Jerrit John’s, is the owner of  No Nonsense Production House  and he was in charge of the whole flash mob. Every evening dancing on the tunes of ‘ Jo jeeta whai sikander “, laughing and exchanging notes and having great time.

There after the flash mob can into controversy, and mys elf and jerrit  and others worked closely to sort out the issue as a person with  so called NGO called recycle initiative  , made revenue in the name of the cause . In the flash mob we had a lot of poor BMX riders who weren’t even fed water on the day of the event. Many more cyclists were  upset with the conduct of the event and feel absolutely cheated when a cause has turned out to be an personal event . Anyway, I gave them all legal advise I could, being an outsider, and a human rights activist, I would plunge into anything if there were human rights violations.    The Flash MOb was supposed to be an official  tie up with  Sa Re Ga Ma and they pulled it off their official you tube channel after the controversy.’

About himself he says

Back in the day when I was goofing off in front of a camera at Rhythm House, I didn’t think I’d be making a living out of it when I’m into my early 30s. It turned out that our antics were seen by the producers of a show called Philips [V] People. And soon, Channel [V] came calling. At first I’d thought I’d do it just temporarily, but soon I’d dropped my plans of becoming a combat pilot as I got used to the 15 hour workdays. 

Two years at Channel [V] with Udham Singh & Channel [V] awarsd and a stint with (ad film-maker) Shameen Desai’s assistant happened. TV Commercials for Live-In Jeans, Clorets, Carrier Air Conditioners and Citra followed. After which I decided I’d like to be my own boss, so I cut the ribbons to NO NONSENSE PRODUCTIONS. I then went onto work with MTV, UTV (Hungama) and Disney, I was called Creative Consultant, but I went the whole nine yards – directing, producing, editing – everywhere I worked.
Although Channel [V] is where I learnt the ropes, my passion always lay in films. Thanks to some luck and a bit of hard work, No Nonsense is one of the leading names in shooting behind-the-scenes Docu. action on movie sets. And being a part of the crew on Slumdog Millionaire, Delhi-6, My Name Is Khan, Don, Rock On, Wake Up Sid, Sarkar Raj, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai…and the like was not only a great learning experience but also a great pleasure. 
My progress in the industry has been gradual, but I don’t believe in taking short cuts. I want to make human stories – something realistic – there has to be a take-home value,.’ve tried to reflect that in my short films, all of which are close to my heart. And it’s the greatest feeling in the world to have your work appreciated, and to be able to share it at places like the Berlin Film Festival or Cannes or having your film included in the Official Selection of Short Films for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. If you ask me to pick a favorite, I’d honestly struggle to come up with a name. Be it Loo Tales or Rolling or S8 or Mumbai Local, being able to say that I like this one more than that has always been close to impossible for me.
The journey has been a bit up and down so far, but that’s what’s made it exciting and worthwhile. And the best part of it is: I’m nowhere near the end.

 

Today when I read TOI, I was aghast

WOMEN IN CITY UNDER ATTACK

‘Old friend’ hurls chemical on young physio’s face

Mateen Hafeez & Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai: Aryanka Hozbetkar, a 26-year-old physiotherapist, had a hazardouschemicalflung ather face in her Worli residence on Wednesday morning. The assailant,whois absconding, is said to have been her good friend in the past. The incident comes in the wake of several other attacks in Mumbai on women at home and mirrorsthe growing trendof attempts to disfigure women’s faces either with acid or by slashing.
The attack took place at Hozbetkar’s home at Adarsh Colony at around 5am just after the physiotherapist had returned from one of her cycling expeditions. She was in the presence of her friends when Jerrit John, 45, carried out the cowardly attack.

Worli girl’s eye may be severely affected after chemical attack

Dadar Police Hunt For Absconding Vashi Suspect

Mateen Hafeez and Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai: While Jerrit John, 45, has been booked for theft and wrongful confinement, the Dadar police are investigating a case in which the Vashi resident is suspected to have hurled a chemical at the face of 26-year-old physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbetkar at the woman’s Worli residence. Senior inspector of the Dadar police, Prakash Patil, confirmed that John, who was absconding at the time of going to press, has been booked by the cops for theft and wrongful confinement.
TOI has learned that the chemical attack has severely affected one of Hozbetkar’s eyes, although officials at P D Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, where she is being treated, refused to comment on the extent of the damage. A family friend said, “There have been injuries to the face and an eye may be badly affected. But she is out of danger now.” Neither the hospital nor the family would confirm if the attack had disfigured Hozbetkar’s face. Police said that one of her friends, Shammi Sharma, who was present when the attack took place, has also sustained injuries.
Hozbetkar met John, who is employed with a private firm at Bandra-Kurla Complex, soon after she joined a cycling group. Sources close to the investigation said that Hozbetkar and John had been going on cycling trips together. “They were very good friends. But after a point Hozbetkar did not want to continue with the friendship and she made that clear to him,” a source said. On Wednesday at around 4am, Hozbetkar had just returned from one of her trips with her friends when John called her. “He came over to her place and before anyone could realize anything was amiss, he hurled some liquid at her face. She started screaming and saying that her skin was burning,” said the source. The source said that John had stopped going for cycling trips lately.
Before either Hozbetkar’s parents, who were in the next room, or her friends could react, John fled the scene and bolted the Hozbetkars’ door from outside. He also took her cell phone, said a source. John was a frequent visitor to the Hozbetkar house and was known to her parents. The victim’s relatives, who stay next door, had to unlock the door, following which she was rushed to the hospital.
The Dadar police stopped short of saying acid had been flung at the girl. “It did look like some corrosive material but it is difficult to say whether it was acid,” said the source. The police have collected samples from the house, which will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina.
Patil said that a team was sent to John’s Vashi residence, but it was locked. He confirmed that John had run away with the victim’s cell phone. “We are investigating the case,” he said.

Jerrit G  John SHORT films  to his credit shown @ Berlin Film Fest – 2003,2005,2006, Cannes – 2004,Stockholm – 2004
Indo British – 2004.

THIS CASE WILL BE SOLVED

There are six eye witnesses in the case and they know the perpetrator and the victim both.

Usually, we don’ t  usually get eye witnesses in acid throwing cases

Jerrit,  has been  asking friends to say that they did not hear anything or see anything,.

JERRIT, seriously, you think we will be QUIET.

You may have deleted you Facebook PROFILE, but you cant be on the run for long.

SHARE THIS WIDELY MAKE THIS MAN SURRENDER