Shot in face, Afghan girl's scars are healing, but not the mental ones

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New Delhi, March 25: Her bullet injury is healing, but 18-year-old Shakila Zareen is still in trauma of a bad marriage. She was left with a gaping hole when her husband shot her at a point-blank range.

Now being treated in Delhi's Apollo hospitals, she does not wish to go back, wants to complete her studies and settle in India.

She was 17 when she was married off to a 31 year old cousin by her parents under financial compulsions. Her dreams of a happy and peaceful family life remained a dream as she braved an abusive husband and his family. This culminated into being shot on the face at a point blank range.

Now she is sure that she would be killed by them if she returned. However, India's foreign policies have no hopes for her. India can extend assistance in these cases, even extend visas but cannot allow Afghans to stay here given the cultural and political sensitivities involved.

Shot in December last year, she was brought to India for treatment after much hardships. Her relatives had sought the help of USA, but to no avail untill India offered a sponsored-treatment.

After undergoing 3 surgeries to reconstruct her shattered face, she is healing but will have to do without a couple of teeth and the cartilage of her nose. The doctors used the skin on her thighs to graft her face.

"She has been discharged from hospital but the psychological scars remain,"said her mother who accompanies her everyday for a dressing.

Arezo Kohistany, a US-based Afghan-American who is spearheading a fund-raising campaign for Shakila, said,"She is in no condition to be transferred back to Afghanistan. She will face the possibility of yet another violent attack by her husband's family. She will not be safe there."

OneIndia News

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