Smriti Dixit, 22, is fighting a lonely battle for justice. A teacher from Sagar in Madhya Pradesh, she was attacked with acid by a family friend in April last year. Her fault: she had refused his proposal for marriage.
Since childhood, Smriti was a bright student. After high school while pursuing her graduation, she started teaching mathematics to students at a school in her village, where she lived with her grandparents. In her free time, she ran a beauty parlour and did tailoring work and managed to earn six to seven thousand rupees a month.
But after she was attacked, Smriti lost her job. The family is now dependent on her grandmother's measly pension and the rent from a room in their house. Both combined fetch them barely 700 rupees a month.
Smriti was abandoned by her husband soon after her marriage in 2010. After her grandfather expired, accused Monu, who is also Smriti's neighbour, asked her to seek divorce from her husband and marry him. Suspecting that he was only interested in acquiring the house she lived in, Smriti refused his proposal and slapped him.
Two days later, Monu decided to take revenge. Recalling the horror she underwent, Smriti told NDTV,"As I came out of my house, Monu shouted 'hurry' and the next second another man threw acid on me. When I shouted for water, he made me drink water from the glass which had acid in it. Monu then took me to the hospital and even reported a FIR in this regard against unknown men. He constantly threatened me and my family to not name him."
Monu was briefly arrested by the police, but soon managed to secure bail. Smriti needs nearly 10 lakh rupees for her surgery. But given the meager monthly income of her family, she knows the amount is difficult for her to gather. But she has not lost hope, despite all the difficulties she is facing, she gave her BA final year exams this year.