Mysuru, Sep 16 (IANS) Reshma Qureshi, an acid attack survivor who has been vocal about her struggle and has featured on the fashion ramp, says her attacker and his family want her to “let him go” now that she has become “famous”.

Reshma was here to walk the ramp for designer Jaheena at the fourth edition of Crocs Mysore Fashion Week as the showstopper. The catwalk is not new to her — she took to the New York Fashion Week ramp last year.

In a tete-a-tete with IANS, Reshma responded to a query on whether the attacker or his family contact her now that she is a known face.

“I haven’t spoken to the attacker or his family as such, but I met him two months back in court. I instinctively wanted to rip his throat out, to be honest… When he saw me, he told his lawyer and people, ‘She has become so big and a model, she is in a good place, so please release me or help me out’,” Reshma said.

“His family does see me in the news and people do say that now that you have become big, why don’t you let him go… But why should I let him go? He did wrong, so why should I? My mother clearly says that the way my daughter was earlier, bring that back, then we will let you go,” Reshma added in a determined tone.

The daughter of a Mumbai-based taxi driver, Reshma’s life changed in 2014 when, during a visit to her hometown in Uttar Pradesh, her brother-in-law and his friends assaulted her at a railway station and threw acid on her face.

Reshma’s brother-in-law mistook her for her elder sister, since both of them were wearing burqas. She was only 17 at the time.

She says people often feel sorry that she suffered when her sister was the real target. But she adds, “Even if it had happened to her (sister), she would have been in the same kind of agony. So, how does that change anything? The statement is unsettling.”

After the attack, which left her not just with physical but emotional scars too, Reshma tried to commit suicide thrice.

“But my parents supported me and then, after two months, the NGO Make Love Not Scar, Ria Sharma and Tania Singh came in and helped me… Now people know me because of them,” she said.

Reshma does not like to be called an acid attack “victim”. “We are not and we should not be called that… I am a survivor.”

She continues to take up offers to walk the ramp as she feels a lot of women who have been or are being victimised will be inspired by her and gain confidence and courage for their own battles.

Reshma hopes that some day there will be a fashion show solely for acid attack survivors who are scared to step out of their homes.

“They are no less than celebrities. We have to muster tonnes of courage to face the world as we go through a lot… The first time that I walked the ramp, I was scared to the bones, but the people in New York cheered me up,” said Reshma.

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Crocs Mysore Fashion Week 2017. Kishori Sud can be contacted at kishori.s@ians.in)

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.