J Vinodhini, a software engineer who suffered serious burn injuries in November when a man threw acid on her for rejecting his overtures, died at a private hospital in Chennai today.
As in the case of the Delhi gangrape victim, she too was from a poor family and had worked hard against tremendous odds to complete her higher education and get a job. However, when she said no to a man, who had been troubling her with his advances, he attacked her near Puducherry while she was in a bus. Vinodhini suffered 40 per cent injuries, mostly on her face, shoulders and stomach. The attack instantly blinded her besides disfiguring her.
The most unfortunate part of Vinodhini's tragedy is that she had reported the trouble and stalking she faced to the police. The police had warned the culprit, but that couldn't prevent him from attacking her.
Her story made headlines for a few days in the state and subsequently faded out of public interest. Reportedly, her family struggled to meet her treatment expenses. Doctors said, even if she had survived, she would have been blind and her quality of life would have been seriously compromised with endless surgeries and other travails. Her family and friends were crestfallen at the hospital where she was declared dead today. Apparently when she was attacked, she had fought valiantly and spit back some of the acid, mildly injuring her attacker.
The attack on Vinodhini happened barely a weak after another acid-victim, Sonali Mukherjee, shook the conscience of the nation on Kaun Banega Crorepathi, with the story of her tragedy and survival.
One can only hope that Vinodhini's sacrifice will not be in vain and that it will force the authorities in the state to do something extraordinary to effectively fight the violence against women. Here is yet another case of a sprightly, smart young Indian girl, with a lot of hope on her future, being crushed by a senseless and violent man even as the State and society looked on.