It is widely said, ‘Anger is a battery that leaks acid and loneliness becomes an acid that eats away at you.’ An acid attack is considered as a heinous crime like rape and is usually premeditated. In 90% cases, the jilted lover is behind it who could not take ‘No’ as answer for his marriage proposal or sexual advances. The person buys bottle of acid, stalks the victim and executes the act. Other than psychological trauma, it can result in permanent disfigurement of face, infections and blindness. Last year’s acid attack on a Lady Doctor in Delhi and acid attack on a ‘would be bride’ in Chandigarh; or a rape of a colleague by IIT Dean in Assam, all were result of illogical, fake honor and pride which was hurt. It is generally considered that acid is thrown by a person, who carries primitive thinking and becomes so irrational in his behavior that he doesn’t experience flood of senses.
Senseless and heinous crimes like rapes and acid attack has no place in any society. In Asia, countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan and Iran remains the fort runners to be crowned as ‘Living hell for Women’. Recently, Afghanistan has entered the doomed list. Nevertheless, the women in these countries are worst sufferers of acid attacks and rapes. In India, Delhi has recorded whooping sixty cases of acid attacks in a quarter last year and a sharp rise in rape cases. It already has been crowned as ‘Rape Capital’ with women not finding enough courage to venture out alone in evening. A very prominent online friendship site in Holland has warned its members to be careful while accepting requests from India and Pakistan. It has put both the countries in the category of “highly unsafe for women.” We owe this stigma to increased rape and acid attack cases. After Nirbhaya gang rape, Justice Verma committee suggested capital punishment to the accused in acid attack cases. This was not accepted by our law makers. However, as per new laws, the person who throws acid could get ten years to life term in a prison. Even though harsher laws have been placed for rapes and acid attacks, there seems to be little effect on rowdies. In a country where porn is available to a thirteen year old via mobiles and internet, buying bottle of acid is not a rocket science. The acid bottle primarily used as toilet cleaning liquid is easily available in any corner store as cheap as for rupee ten per bottle. The rule was implemented by Government of India, that to buy a bottle of acid, a person has to submit ID proof with the seller. However, this rule has been flushed in the toilet by the seller itself. This rule has no takers and there is no agency to keep a check on this. Person who plans to throw acid on his victim considers breaking this rule as his divine birthright. We, as a society have been shamed again and again by incidents of rapes and acid attacks. To some extent we also need to be sensitive to acid attack victims. Recently, a group of acid attack victims were sitting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to raise their voice for better medical facilities, rehabilitation and stern punishment to the accused. They were beaten up and locked up in police station as they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. With the exception of few NGO’s, surprisingly, nobody stood for them. Delhi was expected to show little concern and support for them.
So what are the measures that can be taken to counter rise of acid attack cases. First things come first. There should be temporary cancellation of acid selling licenses for time being. No compromise on this!!! There should be restriction on sale of acid in open market and record of acid being sold in unauthorized colonies be maintained. The government should form a team which needs to keep a check on acid related activities in these colonies. There is a need of fast track courts and rehabilitation services for victims. Financial, medical and legal advice should be given to them on priority basis. The present we know is a movie of the past and there is an urgent need to control the present. The fear of law and punishment in record time is the key to end this menace.