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Finally, state keeps a promise

Bokaro, Feb. 4: Chief minister Hemant Soren today handed a job letter to acid attack survivor Sonali Mukherjee, keeping his promise made to the gutsy 28-year-old woman who had almost lost faith in her state after years of lip-service given by previous chief ministers.

Sonali will join work tomorrow at “9am sharp” as a Grade III clerk at the Bokaro deputy commissioner’s office.

Dressed in a green salwar-kameez and a yellow dupatta, Sonali said she was glad she got her job letter on the day of Saraswati Puja.

“Since April 2003, when I was attacked with acid, I have come this far by sheer grace of god. May god give no girl my pain. If someone is as unlucky as me, may god give her guts to fight and a family as supportive as mine,” she told The Telegraph after the event, a smile on her lips and tears rolling down her near-sightless eyes.

Eleven years ago, three youths, whose advances she had spurned, had poured acid on her when she was sleeping.

In a flash, the face of the pretty college girl-cum-NCC cadet melted. So did the life she had known.

Her eyesight and hearing were damaged irreparably, her burnt skin was vulnerable to infections. Since 2003, Sonali underwent over 20 reconstructive surgeries, funded mostly by NGOs.

Her story moved the nation to tears when she appeared on Kaun Banega Crorepati. Recently, the Supreme Court ordered stringent curbs on over-the-counter sale of acid to check attacks on girls like Sonali.

On the dais today, she thanked Hemant for “fulfilling his promise”, NGOs, supporters and the media.

Besides Hemant, former chief minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren, human resources minister Geetashree Oraon and Dumri MLA Jagannath Mahto and other dignitaries applauded the braveheart.

Hemant also laid the foundation stone for welfare projects worth Rs 32 crore for Bokaro district at the event.


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