The moving love story of an acid attack victim
Their love story will move you to tears.
In 2009, 15-year-old Pramodini Roul was returning home after taking an exam in Tirtol, Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha. She was not alone. A student at Adikabi Saraladas Mahavidyala, she was accompanied by her cousin. Unfortunately, Pramodini had no idea what was about to happen. A tragedy that would change her life forever. No, she was just walking without a hint of the gruesome attack that was about to take place.
The Acid Attack
Santosh Bedanta had no clue what love really meant. He was just besotted. In fact, it was one-sided love affair for him. So, he proposed to young Pramodini for marriage. However, she was too young to tie the knot and not in love with him. She turned him down. This angered Santosh. He just couldn't come to terms with the fact that a girl refused his proposal. It wounded his ego. He decided to teach her a lesson. A lesson she would never forget. A paramilitary soldier by profession, he decided to get revenge. So, he bought some acid from a local store, tracked Pramodini's movements, and got on his bike. After he spotted her walking towards her uncle's house, Santosh threw the acid on her face.
What Happened Next
"I was returning to my uncle's house, when the youth came in a motorcycle and threw acid on me to take revenge as I had slapped him for making undue advances," had said Pramodini in an interview to Odisha TV.
After the incident, she was rushed to SCB Medical College and Hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, she suffered severe burns on her face and she lost her eye sight after the acid attack. It took five reconstructive surgeries including one to correct the vision in her left eye to some extent. "The skin from her legs was used for grafting but untimely discharge from the hospital caused infection in her half treated wounds that began secreting puss," states a report published in The Sun.
The doctors told Pramodini's mother that it would take at least four months before she could walk again. So, they put her in intensive care. After she was discharged, Pramodini spent four years bedridden at her house, where her mother took care of her alone.
Was Justice Served? No
Despite the gravity of the crime, the accused managed to escape punishment. Though, the survivor's family lodged an FIR with police, they could not arrest him even after eight years of the incident.
But, this tragic tale has a happy ending. Pramodini, who was forced to spend most of her time in the hospital, managed to find true love…
A Love Story That Will Touch Your Heart
It was on her hospital bed that Pramodini met the love of her life for the first time. Three years ago, Saroj Kumar Sahoo saw Pramodini. He was a friend of her nurse and had gone to the hospital on a regular visit. There he saw the survivor's mother crying.
"We met in March 2014 when he had come with his friends to visit the hospital. Initially we didn't speak to each other, even though he had seen me. However, after around 15 days he started to speak to me. He would often visit the hospital. I believe he saw my mother and observed her and then slowly started extending helping hands. She would always come alone for my physio therapy. One day he heard my mother ask about my improvement and how long would it take for me to recover as my lower body had by then deteriorated," said Pramodini in an interview to the Daily Mail.
"He was extremely caring and looked after my needs. He would talk to me for hours and motivate me. It was a tough time for me when doctors had told me I would not be able to walk for four years. I had already lost my eyesight and the thought of being bedridden was an added woe. But Saroj did not lose hope. He would encourage me every day, motivating me to be positive and have hopes," she continued.
"He even quit his job to meet me every day. From 8 to 12am in the morning and 4 to 8pm in the evening, he was there with me. It had become a routine. Just as medication was required for the physical recovery I needed dire support and encouragement at the mental level. Gradually, the wounds started healing and with treatment and exercise and with his help and support I regained my confidence and now I am standing back on my feet," concluded Pramodini.
The Happy Ending
In 2016, Saroj proposed to her in Agra. It took time for Pramodini to come to terms with the fact a man truly loved her--but eventually she did. Now, the couple has been living in together for the past one year in New Delhi. In fact, they are ready to tie the knot soon.
Though, Pramodini has accepted her new life, the trauma still lingers. And not just for her, but for other survivors like her.
Acid Attacks In India
There's no denying that acid attacks are a growing menace in India. A crime that scars the victims for life--both physically and emotionally. According to the data collected by Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI), there were 225 cases of acid attack reported in 2014. Unfortunately, despite the ban on its sale by the Supreme Court, acid is still widely sold in the country for as cheap as Rs 25. As per a DNA report, "In Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, acid is being sold openly by the vendors on roads and by going door-to-door also."
Earlier this year, the Telangana government in a bid to curb acid attacks in the state has planned on doling out stringent punishments for the perpetrators of the crime. The state cabinet released an official statement, stating that it would amend the existing laws. The proposal mentions jail sentence from anywhere between 10 years to life imprisonment, along with a fine up to 10 lakh which would go to the victim's family.
Now, that proposal of a hefty fine is in place, it would easier for victims to get medical care and extensive plastic surgeries.