Federico Borella Photojournalist
Living with the attacker
Geeta and her daughter Neetu are still living with the man who, 25 years ago, disfigured them with the acid.
During the night, while they were at Geeta’s mother’s home, he killed his little daughter Krishna, one year old, blinding Neetu and permanently scarring Geeta. Following the attack, it started a long period of torment made by fighting and domestic violences.
Indrajeet assaulted his wife and daughter for the resentment arising from his desire for a son and his wife’s reproaches, due to his dissolute life made of alcohol and gambling.
But during his detention in jail, Indrajeet wrote a letter to Geeta, apologizing for what he did. Geeta felt the pressure of society, in a country where is extremely difficult for a divorced and disfigured woman, with a disabled daughter, to reintegrate herself into the public life, and where people hate the victim more than the culprit. Therefore, she had no options and she decided to forgive him three months after his arrest.
Geeta now lives with her daughter Neetu, her husband and her youngest daughter Poonham, born after the attack, in a small house which was rebuilt in 2016 with a special State compensation, designated for helping victims of domestic violence.
Neetu was blinded during the attack, so in April 2017, thanks to a fundraising organized by the Stop Acid Attack NGO, she was operated to her right eye in Chennai, her sister Poonham assisted her after surgery, while their parents stayed at home waiting for them.
This forced cohabitation continues, but even now they face with Indrajeet’s problems of gambling and drinking, with a permanent domestic violence and with his incapacity to provide for his family, so that Geeta and Neetu totally provide for the economic maintenance. The two women in fact, work as activists at the Sheroes Hangout Café, the first restaurant in the world run by women disfigured by acid. Thanks to their salary they are economically independent enough to support the whole family.
Today, Neetu is not angry with his father. She has forgiven him, she never asked her mother why they are still together and she can hardly remember anything about that day. On the other hand, Indrajeet remembers that day whenever he looks at his daughter, and he will regret this forever.