Akshay Kumar meets Afghan girl acid attack victim
By Sajad - Wed Dec 05 2012, 10:26 am
Sameera, the victim of the violence whose name has slightly been changed to protect her identity it seemed inconceivable that she could even dare to dream of a bright future. But a year later, the plucky Afghan teenager has not only dreamed the impossible dream, she even managed to reach the unreachable star – and a top Bollywood idol at that.
She is currently in New Delhi where she is undergoing a series of surgeries for her acid burns where she met Bollywood Star Akshay Kumar on December 2.
The top Indian actor Akshay Kumar met Sameera for 30 minute which seems to be the culmination of a long journey in a country that has been slowly making remarkable strides in women’s rights. For the 18-year-old the quest began months ago, when volunteers at an Afghan women’s shelter asked Sameera what were her dreams.
Quoted by France24 she said she wanted three things: One, for her health to be okay and her scars to heal. Two, she wanted an education. Three, she wanted to leave Afghanistan and live in a better place. But more than anything, she wanted to meet – and marry – Akshay Kumar. Then she started to laugh really hard,” recounted Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of a New York-based NGO, Women for Afghan Women.
It’s been a year since she was brutally disfigured in the acid attack, Sameera is making steady progress after the Indian government agreed to cover her healthcare costs – including trips to a New Delhi hospital for reconstructive surgery and post-operative care.
Authorities in northern Kunduz province said armed militia men attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man’s bid to marry his teenage daughter.Gunman tried to marry the teenager, but her family turned him down and instead got her engaged to a relative.
The assault was carried by the angry local militia man whose marriage proposal was refused by the victims’ family. The incident took place after the militia men entered the house of the Afghan family and had beaten the father of the girl before spraying acid on the faces of all the family members including the Afghan man, his wife and his three daughters.
Days after the attack, Afghan police officials arrested four men, including the older brother of the spurned suitor. The suitor himself went into hiding after the attack and has not been arrested.
The four men have since been tried and given 12-year prison sentences under the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women law, landmark legislation that – for the first time – criminalised child marriage, forced marriage and chemical attacks on women, as well as the practise of bartering women to settle disputes – called “baad” in Afghanistan.