The Inside Story
Morinda: Inderjit Kaur has undergone six reconstruction surgeries, tried to commit suicide twice and finally decided she won't put up with a life brought upon her by an acid attack in December last year. I will fight for justice, says the 24-year-old resident of Morinda in Punjab.

Inderjit's life changed for the worst when Manjit, a man who wanted to marry her, threw acid on her after his wedding proposal was turned down. Manjit belongs to Zirakpur in Punjab.

Inderjit lost one of her eyes in the attack. Doctors are hopeful her other eye can be saved. Inderjit's poor family spent Rs. 9 lakh on her reconstruction surgeries and approached the courts, but it's been a far rougher ride that the mother and daughter would have imagined.

The first lawyer they hired never filed any case. The second, they say, tried to put pressure on them to strike a compromise with Manjit, who allegedly made threatening calls from jail after his arrest.

"I feel ashamed to be born in India," says Inderjit, who sees life from behind a veil now. "Had I been born is the US or some other country, such a thing would have never happened."

She says she had thought of committing suicide but decided to fight on so that her case serves as an inspiration for other victims of acid attacks that are so common in India.

Manjit Kaur, Inderjit's mother who cooks at the local gurdwara, says: "My daughter wanted to study further, do an MA and then PhD. She was working in a private company. We had many plans for her."

The family says raising more money for Inderjit's treatment is almost impossible and the courts are their last hope.

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State to pay acid attack victim Rs 3 lakh

The Punjab government on Wednesday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that will pay Rs 3 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund to an acid attack victim from Morinda, Inderjit Kaur, so that she can undergo an eye surgery at Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai.

The division bench was hearing of two separate petitions filed by Poor Patients Relief Society in Chandigarh regarding what steps had the government take for the rehabilitation of acid attack victims. Moreover, the court directed the Punjab government to take a decision on coming up with a scheme to provide free medical treatment and grant compensation and rehabilitation to such victims.

"An acid attack is worse than murder. An acid attack victim faces ordeal throughout her life," the bench observed. The case will now come up for hearing on March 22.

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Provide free treatment to acid attack victims: HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday issued notices to Punjab on a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by th` 'Poor Patients Relief Socie'y', seeking free treatment, including plastic surgery for an acid attack victim.

The petitioners have submitted that having been spurned, a Zirakpur resident entered the house of Inderjit Kaur of Morinda on December 8, 2011 and threw acid on her face and other parts of her body. The incident disfigured Inderjit's face, damaged her eyesight and caused serious injuries on her neck, hands and other parts of body.

Belonging to a poor family and having lost her father two years ago, she is unable to arrange funds for her plastic surgery. The petitioners stated that after the incident, Inderjit, who was studying her BA, also lost her teaching job in a private school. They also pointed out that the High Court had come to the aid of another acid attack victim, of one Prerna of Rohtak, by directing the Haryana government to release Rs 15 lakh for Prerna's plastic surgery expenses.

The petitioner also referred to the recommendations, made by National Commission for Women to the Centre in 2009, stating that in cases of acid attack, the government should immediately release an interim financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the victim and thereafter pay up to a maximum of Rs 20 lakh or more, directly to the hospital for treatment of such acid attack victims. The society has sought directions to the Punjab to release adequate amount to Inderjit Kaur for her treatment.

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