Sonali Mukherjee at the news meet in Bokaro on Sunday. (Gautam Dey)
The woman whom Amitabh Bachchan hailed as an “epitome of courage” on Kaun Banega Crorepati came home to Kasmar, Bokaro, to celebrate Durga Puja.
Festivities over, acid attack victim Sonali Mukherjee, now 29, and undergoing medical treatment in New Delhi with the help of Mumbai NGO Foundation Beti, expressed her frustration on Sunday over “not receiving a penny from Jharkhand government”.
Speaking at a news meet organised by NGO Family Counselling Centre in Bokaro, Sonali said: “I did not receive a penny from the state government as compensation. Neither did any of my family members get a job.”
Over 10 years ago, Sonali’s life changed for ever when three youths whose advances she had rejected poured sulphuric acid on her face, melting eyelids, ears and cheeks.
A pretty undergraduate student and an NCC cadet based in Dhanbad at that time, Sonali battled for her life and dignity. Her vision lost, face badly disfigured, she relentlessly campaign for justice.
Though her case has been widely highlighted, her attackers — Tapas Mitra and his friends Sanjay Paswan and Bramhadev Hazra — are still out on bail.
“If the government doesn’t find me fit for a job, it should give one to one of my family members,” she said.
Right now, Sonali is undergoing a series of surgeries costing Rs 30 lakh sponsored by the Mumbai-based NGO.
“My last ear surgery was conducted a month ago. Four more surgeries are due. I will leave for Delhi within a week,” she said.
In September, following the Supreme Court directive to prevent acid attacks, the Centre asked all states to ban over-the-counter sale of 21 acids.