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  • Southall Black Sisters campaign for two victims of acid attack

    by Sunny
    26th August, 2010 at 10:37 am    

    SBS - the iconic west London based women’s group - has launched a fund raising appeal to support two women from India who were the victim of a horrific acid attack. I can’t publish the pictures here because they are that horrific.

    Below is a letter they sent out to supporters, and wanted us to publish here:

    * * * * * * * * * *
    Dear Friends,

    I am writing to you in the hope that you will be able to donate generously to finance the medical costs and rehabilitation of Samar (31) and Juwariya (25) Atique whose young lives and hopes were brutally crushed in October 2009 by two men who threw a jug of acid on their faces as the women were returning home from a day’s work in a rickshaw.

    Their crime - Juwariya had turned down a marriage proposal from one of the men!

    They sustained severe burns and injuries to their faces, their eyes and their upper bodies. In acid attack cases, the victims should be hosed down gently with a continuous stream of water immediately to stop the acid continuing to burn into their flesh. But they did not get treatment for five hours after the incident because the woman doctor was threatened with a similar attack by these men and their families.

    They may be blind for life. They will need to have reconstructive surgery on their noses and lips. Their eyelids were burnt away so they also suffer from itching and dryness in the eyes. Their first operation did not take place till 5 months after the event. To date they have had 3 operations and they will need many, many more. They live in Delhi but they have to travel to a hospital in Chennai, nearly one and a half thousand miles away, where they are getting subsidised treatment. One of the sisters is suicidal, they are both suffering from depression but neither of them has had any counselling sessions as yet. Post-operative care and rehabilitation will take years.

    They were independent working women, whose incomes contributed to the expenses of a joint family of 11 people. Samar worked for an IT company and Juwariya, ironically ran her own beauty parlour. One other sister and brother have had to give up their jobs in order to look after them leading to a loss of four incomes.

    The reduced family income is less than the monthly cost of routine medical expenses like bandages, antibiotics and painkillers, let alone the cost of going to Chennai for surgery, let alone the costs of daily life. So far, they have managed with donations and loans from family and friends. Poverty has compounded the consequences of violence.

    This case came to the attention of Southall Black Sisters earlier this year.

    Although we do not usually have the capacity to run international campaigns, we felt that the horrific nature of this particular attack served as a salutary reminder of the extreme violence that women round the world continue to face should they make the smallest strike for freedom and assert their most basic rights, in this case, the right to choose their own partner/spouse.

    The immediate target for fundraising is £21,000 for microsurgery to be carried out on Samar’s eyes. There is some hope that her sight may be saved although Juwariya’s is irretrievable. Of this sum £11,000 has already been raised.

    However the very rough total estimated costs of all surgery, including longterm rehabilitation, are: £250,000. It is impossible to be precise partly because every decision for futher surgery depends on preceding operations. The following are some examples of costs:

    Average monthly cost of care: £1350 (bandages, medicines, nursing, local hospital visits, nutritious food)
    Each visit to the Chennai hospital: £12,000 (based on their previous trip)
    Every return flight to Chennai costs: £985 (for 3 people)
    Counselling: £30 per session

    Thank you.

    Rahila Gupta
    (on behalf of Southall Black Sisters)
    * * * * * * * *

    Please click on the Justgiving link below and follow the instructions.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Culture,India

    32 Comments below   |  

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    1. sarah — on 26th August, 2010 at 10:51 am  

      Glad you could put this up Sunny.

    2. Rahila — on 26th August, 2010 at 11:37 am  


      The men are on remand awaiting trial. But it is a sorry story of police corruption, bribery, indifference and sexism. The police are dragging their feet and have not even taken witness statements from the women. But the focus at the moment is on their medical treatment.

    3. Katy Newton — on 26th August, 2010 at 12:21 pm  

      Thanks for putting this up, Sunny.

      I find pictures of this sort very hard to look at, and I am deeply ashamed of that, because given what these women went through the least we can do is not try to avoid looking at it.

    4. Golam Murtaza — on 26th August, 2010 at 1:27 pm  

      Don’t usually see myself as a “hang ‘em and flog ‘em” type, but I struggle to think of a legal sentence in existence anywhere which would be severe enough punishment for the men who do this.

    5. Kismet Hardy — on 26th August, 2010 at 2:10 pm  

      I’ve said this here before but it still saddens me that the only bit of science I remember is being taught at school in bangladesh, where acid attacks are so prevalent, that H2S04 was sulphuric acid, with the science teacher telling the class that any boy who felt heartbroken by a girl should remember: ‘acid uttar na’. (acid is not the answer)

      Mangles the brain

    6. Rumbold — on 26th August, 2010 at 3:05 pm  

      That is really depressing Kismet.

      The fundraising seems to be going well so far. £2600 online isn’t bad.

    7. Shamit — on 26th August, 2010 at 4:07 pm  

      Golam - I agree with your thoughts.

      Sunny - Well done for putting this post up.

      I am having trouble - getting to the donation page following this link through. Anyone having the same problems? Could it be cookie issues?

    8. Katy Newton — on 26th August, 2010 at 4:49 pm  

      I can see why that would stick in your mind, Kismet

    9. Stranger Than Fiction — on 26th August, 2010 at 6:17 pm  

      Sunny, although this is a worthy cause to highlight, your approach looks a little incoherent.

      You are highlighting an appeal for two women maimed overseas because they asserted ‘their most basic rights, in this case, the right to choose their own partner/spouse.’

      Yet by far the biggest forced marriage campaigning event in the UK for months was Monday’s Dispatches: When Cousins Marry. You have stayed completely silent about that programme.

      It is good to raise money for these two women, but I can’t help thinking if you were really committed to ‘the right to choose a partner/spouse’ you would have used some of your blog space and leadership to campaign for some of the basic goals outlined in Dispatches. To list a few:

      - getting constituents in the 30 seats mentioned in the programme to write to their MP and encourage greater openness

      - openly supporting Ann Cryer in her calls for greater discussion of the subject

      - supporting the Department of Health in being able to spread information about the risks of consanguinous marriage

      - backing those charities who are highlighting the link between cousin marriage and forced marriage.

      Or alternatively you could stay out of the subject, if it makes you feel so uncomfortable that you had nothing to say about Dispatches. But picking up a bit of reflected goodwill from a campaign which really only pertains to India does not make you look like a very coherent campaigner in the UK, I’m afraid.

    10. Don — on 26th August, 2010 at 6:34 pm  


      Sunny doesn’t write everything on this site. It was covered.

    11. Kismet Hardy — on 26th August, 2010 at 6:35 pm  

      Dude, why are you so keen on sunny making a comment about the cousin marriage thing (you were crying havoc about it on that thread too, if I recall). Rumbold is a regular contributor and he presented the issue in as straight forward a way for the rest of us to discuss as Sunny would have. I don’t get it.

      “Yet by far the biggest forced marriage campaigning event in the UK for months was Monday’s Dispatches: When Cousins Marry.”

      It wasn’t a campaign. It was a programme. But if you type in Forced Marriages on the search box on PP, you’ll find plenty of campaigns

    12. Don — on 26th August, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

      I just checked. Less than twenty minutes after the article on this topic was posted your only comment was to complain that the writer was Rumbold. (The second comment was a waste of time).

    13. Katy Newton — on 26th August, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

      Ha, yes, I’m the first one to criticise PP if I think it’s merited but it’s madness to imply that there’s been insufficient coverage of forced marriages and interfamily marriage on here.

    14. Stranger Than Fiction — on 26th August, 2010 at 11:55 pm  

      End of the day, Sunny (not Rumbold) is the one who is trying to be a left wing leader.

      He’s happy enough to tell people to vote Lib Dem, or Ed Miliband, or how to campaign more effectively against the Tories or on climate change. So why has he shown no leadership in the wake of the Dispatches prog?

      He knows the difference between opinion blogging and activism, it’s his personal bugbear.

      If you think that Dispatches was not about campaigning, you have misunderstood the purpose of the show. Campaigning is about promoting behavioural changes, which is EXACTLY what Tazeen Ahmed and the producers were trying to achieve. Ignoring Dispatches and then trying to come across all saintly by re-posting a press release about distant matters in India is not a coherent approach.

    15. Stranger Than Fiction — on 26th August, 2010 at 11:57 pm  

      Anyway I’m sure Sunny can speak for himself…

    16. Kismet Hardy — on 27th August, 2010 at 12:24 am  

      Actually, you’re right.

      I mean, take that Lenny Henry bloke for instance. Every year he comes on our telly asking us to give money to Africans and would have us believe he is still a comedian. Yet, when the story broke about giant rats that may have traveled from AFRICA to Bradford, he was nowhere to be seen in the Edinburgh fringe festival where COMEDIANS go. It’s just not COHERENT.

      Why has he shown no leadership in the wake of the rats in Bradford?

      Don’t answer that. I’m sure Lenny can speak for himself…

    17. Sunny — on 27th August, 2010 at 12:38 am  

      “Stranger Than Fiction” - hello Ashley.

      Boy you’ve become desperate haven’t you? I hear you’re also sending emails to blog readers telling them they should stop reading PP or something because I’m not covering everything you want me to cover.

      Damn your life has become rather obsessive hasn’t it? I’d say more but I don’t want to take away from the main focus of this thread - which is the two women above in question. It’s sad that you want to use other people’s misfortunes and attacks for pushing your own agenda. Goodbye.

    18. Kismet Hardy — on 27th August, 2010 at 12:47 am  

      Jesus. I just saw Ashley’s website and relentless anti-Sunny posts.


    19. Leon — on 27th August, 2010 at 11:27 am  

      Who the hell is this guy??

    20. Rumbold — on 27th August, 2010 at 1:47 pm  

      Just to note, ‘Stranger than Fiction’ is not Ashley, although the points they make are very similar. I have checked.

    21. Kismet Hardy — on 27th August, 2010 at 1:59 pm  

      Similar? They’re exactly the same. Checked what? IP ad? People can two computers. Have you checked his website?! Bad detective rumbold of the bailey, bad detective

    22. Rumbold — on 27th August, 2010 at 2:38 pm  



      I checked IP addresses and other avenues.

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