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Acid attack, victim awaits justice

By MAMATA MISHRA
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GUWAHATI, April 21 - One month passed since the hideous acid attack scalded her face, neck and eyes, and Nishamoni Borah�s battle for life and justice still searches for a rational answer. The lady advocate�s quest for justice is now a part of her healing process.

Losing sight in her right eye and undergoing treatment for infection in her burn injuries, Nishamoni got a little succour today as the District Legal Services Authority extended a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh, but she is left with a lot more gaping issues.

�I went to Hyderabad Apollo Cornea Clinic for the first surgery as the corrosive substance completely burnt the skin and covered the right eye, and the pain was unbearable. Another visit is due. But since it is not possible for me to go there frequently, I am continuing with the treatment at Shankardeva Nethralaya here. Doctors said that the substance has burnt down the tissues of my right eye and blood circulation has stopped. At present, the emphasis is on protective treatment and avoiding infections. All my expenses are being currently looked after by my aunt and I know it would be a long treatment,� Nishamoni told The Assam Tribune.

Though the police have detained an advocate on the basis of suspicion of a one-sided love affair under Section 326 (A) of the IPC in case no 122/16, the case is yet to make headway.

�We have sent the clothes she was wearing, to the State Forensic Laboratory (SFL) and can proceed further in this case only after receiving the report,� said police sources.

�I am an advocate and understand that the process takes time. The police are trying to ascertain whether the substance was acid or something else. But how does that minimise the severity of the crime, the damage it has caused to my life? The police are yet to identify the person who carried out the acid attack. Whenever I remember the circumstances leading to this incident, I feel a deep seated pain that won�t go away till I get justice,� she said.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the demand for running the case in a fast track court, five NGOs � North East Network, Asom Mahila Sangha, YWCA, Sadou Asom Pragatishil Nari Sanstha and AIDWA, have also taken up the issue of timely compensation to the victim as per provisions of the Central Victim Compensation Fund Scheme as cited in the MHA guidelines dated October 14, 2015. It makes provision for the victim to receive a minimum amount of Rs 3 lakh.

�The process of compensation should be smooth and fast for the victims of violence as any delay and negligence can lead to death and disability. Lack of funds cannot be an excuse, when there are schemes specifically designed for such cases,� said Anurita P Hazarika of the North East Network, which took a commendable initiative in raising the issue of immediate compensation through the State Legal Services Authority. The five NGOs also wrote to the State Women Commission to expedite the immediate financial assistance process.

The victim had applied for assistance through the NGOs and also through senior advocate Neelotpal Deka.

�Not just assistance, she should also get preferential medical treatment and there are Supreme Court orders in this regard,� added Hazarika.

The apex court in an order in 2015, had directed the private hospitals to provide free treatment, including specialised surgeries, to acid attack victims and asked government authorities to take action against them if they fail to comply with its order.

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Acid attack, victim awaits justice

GUWAHATI, April 21 - One month passed since the hideous acid attack scalded her face, neck and eyes, and Nishamoni Borah�s battle for life and justice still searches for a rational answer. The lady advocate�s quest for justice is now a part of her healing process.

Losing sight in her right eye and undergoing treatment for infection in her burn injuries, Nishamoni got a little succour today as the District Legal Services Authority extended a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh, but she is left with a lot more gaping issues.

�I went to Hyderabad Apollo Cornea Clinic for the first surgery as the corrosive substance completely burnt the skin and covered the right eye, and the pain was unbearable. Another visit is due. But since it is not possible for me to go there frequently, I am continuing with the treatment at Shankardeva Nethralaya here. Doctors said that the substance has burnt down the tissues of my right eye and blood circulation has stopped. At present, the emphasis is on protective treatment and avoiding infections. All my expenses are being currently looked after by my aunt and I know it would be a long treatment,� Nishamoni told The Assam Tribune.

Though the police have detained an advocate on the basis of suspicion of a one-sided love affair under Section 326 (A) of the IPC in case no 122/16, the case is yet to make headway.

�We have sent the clothes she was wearing, to the State Forensic Laboratory (SFL) and can proceed further in this case only after receiving the report,� said police sources.

�I am an advocate and understand that the process takes time. The police are trying to ascertain whether the substance was acid or something else. But how does that minimise the severity of the crime, the damage it has caused to my life? The police are yet to identify the person who carried out the acid attack. Whenever I remember the circumstances leading to this incident, I feel a deep seated pain that won�t go away till I get justice,� she said.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the demand for running the case in a fast track court, five NGOs � North East Network, Asom Mahila Sangha, YWCA, Sadou Asom Pragatishil Nari Sanstha and AIDWA, have also taken up the issue of timely compensation to the victim as per provisions of the Central Victim Compensation Fund Scheme as cited in the MHA guidelines dated October 14, 2015. It makes provision for the victim to receive a minimum amount of Rs 3 lakh.

�The process of compensation should be smooth and fast for the victims of violence as any delay and negligence can lead to death and disability. Lack of funds cannot be an excuse, when there are schemes specifically designed for such cases,� said Anurita P Hazarika of the North East Network, which took a commendable initiative in raising the issue of immediate compensation through the State Legal Services Authority. The five NGOs also wrote to the State Women Commission to expedite the immediate financial assistance process.

The victim had applied for assistance through the NGOs and also through senior advocate Neelotpal Deka.

�Not just assistance, she should also get preferential medical treatment and there are Supreme Court orders in this regard,� added Hazarika.

The apex court in an order in 2015, had directed the private hospitals to provide free treatment, including specialised surgeries, to acid attack victims and asked government authorities to take action against them if they fail to comply with its order.

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