ISP Delhi Bureau
Ritu Saini is a role model for those who believe that conquering life after a setback is possible. She not just fought her perpetrators legally, but also proved that an acid attack cannot be an end to everything.
The story of this courageous woman and acid attack survivor must be a lesson for children to learn in schools. Hailing from the state of Haryana, she was like any other teenage girl with glittery eyes and full of dreams. Since her 6th standard she proved her edge with sports and became a sought after volleyball player in her sports-friendly State of Haryana. By her secondary school, everyone including her teachers knew that a child prodigy was in the making to make India proud with her sporting skills. Life changed for her on the fateful evening in July in 2012 when she was just 17.
Ritu was on her way to go for her evening practice and she was about to reach the Volleyball ground when she was approached by two men on a motorbike and the pillion driver, who was one of her relatives’ friend, splashed a bottle full of acid on her face leaving the young girl on ground crying for help. Her distant relative had ordered this crime to avenge Ritu’s denial to marry him.
Ritu went through a two-month long treatment and had 14 operations to fix her burned body parts. Plastic surgeries and skin grafting took a major physical and financial toll on this young girl and her family. Even after specialised treatment, eating and drinking was near to impossible for her with blood oozing through her injured mouth. More than physical ailments, it seems to her parents that Ritu had developed psychological issues of adapting to her new being.
A Kanpur based NGO and several altruistic people contacted her and helped her recover both mentally and financially. She rebounded back in spirit and willpower. She was featured in a famous documentary named Black Rose, Red Dress. The world saw her story and aligned with her cause to protect other survivors. Her story also inspired the Hindi movie Chhapaak.
Ritu moved to Noida and started working at a cafe and became bold to face people. She has also been a showstopper for Disha Chadha at the Asian Designer Week 2017. Ritu lost everything of hers in a moment a decade ago but she is today a force to reckon with for the cause of other victims. She lost her father after the incident and her mother was tested cancer positive. Ritu survived all odds with her will power. She remains the example of strength and cheer and is an inspiration to many.