Tags: india | acid | attacks | court

India's Supreme Court Demands Action on Acid Attacks

By    |   Wednesday, 10 July 2013 05:28 PM

Politicians in India are under mounting criticism for failing to take decisive action to prevent acid attacks, many of them targeting women.

India's Supreme Court has criticized New Delhi for failing to act, and has set a July 16 deadline for setting up a framework to regulate over-the-counter sales of acids used in these attacks.

An India-based group called Stop Acid Attacks (SAA) says that around three attacks are reported nationwide each week — some of them deadly. In May, a woman was assaulted with acid by an unidentified man at a Mumbai train station. The woman, who had gone to Mumbai to start a job as a nurse, succumbed to her injuries last month.

SAA believes that regulating the sale of nitric, sulfuric, and hydrochloric acid will reduce the number of attacks.

"Acid should not be sold without an ID card and there should be records maintained whenever you’re selling acid," said Suneet Shukla, coordinator at Stop Acid attacks, who says sales for individual use should be banned.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard a plea from a woman, identified only as Laxmi, who wants acid sales limited. Laxmi, who only goes by one name, "was left badly scarred on her face, arms and chest after she was attacked with in 2005 near New Delhi’s upscale Khan Market," the Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time blog reported.

Laxmi was 15 years old when she was attacked in broad daylight by a man and a woman on a motorcycle. The male attacker, who she had refused to marry, received a 10-year sentence, while the woman got seven years.

She has spent more than $16,000 on plastic surgery, most of it paid for by her father’s former employer. Her father, a cook for a New Delhi family, died last year.

In April, the Indian Parliament approved a bill strengthening penalties for assaults on women. While the bill made acid attacks a criminal offense punishable by 10 years in jail, lawmakers dropped a provision requiring perpetrators to compensate victims like Laxmi.

In an interview with the Journal, she called on the Indian government to assist acid attack victims with their medical costs.

"I also want the government to help us with rehabilitation," she said. "Treatment costs a lot. The government should help us with this and look after our medical expenses."

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Politicians in India are under mounting criticism for failing to take decisive action to prevent acid attacks, many of them targeting women.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 05:28 PM
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