A few scars depart lasting imprints in life which can’t be either washed away or you can’t dispose of them for a lifetime. So are the scars of acid attack. These attacks are not something unheard of in our country. It is perhaps the most noticeably awful curse on another human -leading to complete debilitation, loss of pay and opportunity, and even social sequestration-and it can happen to anyone, at any time. Acid attack is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against a human being.
Acid throwing or vitriol age is a form of violent assault, indeed an ugly face of revenge in some cases. The attacks are clearly and cruelly calculated to permanently disfigure, debilitate and ultimately destroy the person, physically, economically and psychologically. A person burnt by acid is like a living corpse. The chief targets of these attacks are “the women. Sulphuric and hydrochloric acid are the two types of acid which are used in these attacks. The long term consequences of these attacks that it makes the person blind along with permanent scarring of the face and body. 78% of acid attack is due to rejection of proposal or refusal to marriage. The most notable effects of acid attacks are lifelong bodily disfigurement. Due to their horrible physical appearances, society stares and laugh at them as if they were alien. The victim faces lifelong discrimination from society. It also affects their social, economic and psychological life.
Read: Violence Against Women
The government has taken initiative by reserving one percent quotas of government jobs for such victims. The Acid Survivors and Women Welfare Foundation (ASWWF) has been there since 2010 with the vision to provide care and attention with suitable medical and psychosocial care, establishing ‘Healing and Recovery Centers’ for the acid victims.
The modern welfare society has added new dimensions to the heinous crime of Acid Attack by expanding the ambit of victims of Acid Attack and including men, children and old age people in it. The acid attack has gradually become a global threat and is no longer a problem prevailing only in India.
In the case of male victims, the condition is even worse, first of all, there is no media or social networking raising awareness about it so they get no stage to put up their voice. Secondly, the ignorance of government and society to even consider them as acid attack victim and not to support them in the journey to justice. Thirdly, and most important ignorance of male acid attack victim in all form of discussions and awareness campaigns which do not allow them to come in the picture. It has been to such an extent that today most of us feel that only reason for the acid attack is when a girl says ‘no’ to a boy, which is absolutely wrong acid attack may arise due to jealousy or even as a planned conspiracy towards a person.
Before the insertion of Sections 326A and 326B of Indian Penal Code, the acid attack could only be prosecuted as violence against women. This impeded the availability of data to a very great extent and made arrest and punishment subjective and lenient. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, included provisions for prosecution of perpetrators, treatment and rehabilitation of the victims, right to self- defense against acid attack and control of acid sales. The laws which are definitely ‘too late’ might also prove to be ‘too little’ in the present scenario.
One seeks vengeance, the other seeks justice.