The movie Chhapaak has brought attention, albeit well deserved, to the phenomenon of acid attacks in the country where spurned or rejected suitors seek revenge by throwing acid on the faces of their imaginary loved ones. One case that has garnered much attention both back then when this happened and now is the case of Laxmi Agarwal who fell victim to a man named Naeem Khan in Delhi way back in 2005. People are asking what happened to Laxmi Agarwal’s attacker and want to know more about this heartless man who committed this dastardly attack.
“Chhapaak” Revisits an Old Case
The police had investigated this case when the acid attack happened and the media had given a lot of coverage to this case but public memory is short. Now Deepika Padukone’s film Chhapaak has people curious about both Laxmi and her attacker Naeem Khan and wondering what really happened that fateful day in 2005. They want to know more about Naeem Khan who threw acid on Laxmi Agarwal. Here is what we know!
When Passion Becomes Obsession
Laxmi was 15 years old when this incident happened. The irony is that her family knew the attacker Naeem Khan, a then 32-year old man, who was called “Guddu” by all his friends and acquaintances. Naeem Khan used to visit her house regularly and was even liked by Laxmi’s parents who called him Guddu just like the others. Little did they know that Khan was coming to their house to get close to their 15-year old daughter Laxmi. They had no clue that Khan had become obsessive about Laxmi and wanted to possess her at any cost. He would repeatedly send SMS to Laxmi on her cellphone proclaiming his love for her. Laxmi refused to talk to him and spurned his advances.
Laxmi’s refusal to get involved with him angered Khan to no end. He began to suspect that she was involved with a boy in her school and that made him apoplectic with rage. One moment he would send a message that he loved her but then show his anger the next instant. He finally decided that he had to teach Laxmi a lesson. His philosophy was that if he didn’t get Laxmi then nobody else would get her. He conspired with his elder brother Imran who was already a bad character and had been registered by the police as an anti-social element.
The Price of Saying No!
They bought acid and enlisted the help of another woman who was involved with Imran at that time. On April 22, 2005, Laxmi was at the bus stand at Khan Market in Delhi when Naeem and his brother’s then girlfriend accosted Laxmi. According to the complaint later filed by Laxmi and her family this girl first pushed Laxmi to the ground and then cold-heartedly poured acid on her face and then the duo fled away. Luckily for Laxmi she had managed to see them both before she lay writhing on the ground with burning pain even as the concentrated acid cruelly burned her tender flesh. She lay on the ground screaming in pain until a kind rickshaw driver picked her up and took her to a hospital.
What Happened to “Guddu” Acid Attacker?
Since then Laxmi has recovered and has got on with her life. She has fought bravely the stigma of being a woman with a disfigured face and got educated so that she could get a job and be financially independent. Laxmi Agarwal’s acid attacker Naeem Khan was nabbed by the police and held responsible for the attack as he was the one who had organized it even if it was the other woman who threw the acid on Laxmi’s face.
Controversy Follows “Chhapaak”
This crime is again being discussed not only in Delhi but all over India with the release of the film Chhapaak. However, there has been a controversy over the fact that while in real life the attacker Naeem Khan was a Muslim man in the film it is a Hindu man named Rajesh who is shown committing the crime. The incident has become political with some people alleging that the filmmakers are going easy on a particular community and instead showing Hindus in a bad light.
Girls Have the Right to Say No!
There is no clarity right now what Laxmi herself thinks about this change in the truth. She gave her wholehearted support to the movie when it was being made because she thought it would be good for these victims of acid attacks to have their pain shared with watchers who were sensitive to this issue. The issue here is not if the attacker was Muslim or not but is the fact that such crime is rampant in our country. A girl has the right to say no to a boy or a man and still live without fear. Laxmi Agarwal is a real-life fighter who has made sure that these unfortunate girls will not be forgotten and the next Naeem Khan thinks twice before thinking of throwing acid on a girl or woman who has rejected him.