Empowering2The New Year has brought with it new hope for women who became victims of acid attacks.

Revered Guru ji Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan has added their rehabilitation as one of the over 100 deeds of social service being rendered by the Dera Sacha Sauda. Many of such victims were reached out to at Barnawa, Uttar Pradesh on Sunday 4th January.

Taking an initiative for the acid attack victims, Revered Guru ji Saint Gurmeet Rahim Singh Ji Insan said in a religious congregation at at Barnawa, Uttar Pradesh on Sunday 4th January that the Dera would adopt them and provide state -of -the -art treatment to acid attack victims from specialised doctors.

Apart from that Dera will also help them begin a new life by arranging their marriages with Dera followers, Bhagat Yodhas (Warrior devotees), young men who volunteer to marry disadvantaged women.

His Holiness Guru Ji emphasises the need to eradicate social evils such as prostitution, female feticide. The motivation and inspiration provided by Guru Ji has been so overwhelming that till now as many as 1500 noble souls ‘Bhagat Yodha’, have volunteered to marry the ex-prostitutes. This is a new chapter added to the Dera’s humanitarian work’s list. The humanitarian works of Dera has climbed up to 105. It was a auspicious occasion of incarnation celebration of second master Shah Satnam Ji Maharaj at Barnawa, UP where Guruji decided to help the acid attack victims.

Guruji proposed to start another humanitarian work by Dera and lakhs of people present enthusiastically raised their hands and raised the holy slogan ‘Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera Hi Asra’ . In a male dominated society like India women have been facing exploitation and oppression at every step.

A woman has to face endless difficulties throughout her life and her struggle to survive begins right into the mother’s womb. And the male chauvinists in society make life difficult, attempting atrocities in all forms, be it female feticide or child marriage. This suppression leads to more crimes against women.

Acid attack is one of the most heinous crimes against women. It not only just inflicts physical injuries but also destroys the victim’s entire life, leaving the scars on the body and mind of the victim.
Recently, the Supreme Court went to the extent of banning over the counter sale of acid in shops across India. However, its direction is gathering dust in files and remains only on paper as acid is still available to whosoever wishes to purchase it anytime.

There is no separate statistics for acid violence cases in India till early 2013 because the Indian criminal Law did not recognize it as a separate offence. With the amendment in Indian Penal Code in February 2013, incidents of acid attack are now being recorded as a separate offence under section 326A and 326B.

However, certain estimates have made on the basis of past records & comparison with neighbouring countries where similar socioeconomic conditions prevail. On that reckoning the number of acid violence cases could range anything from 100 to 500 per annum.

Acid attack survivors’ stories

Rupa’s face was doused with acid when she was 15 years old by a step mother unwilling to pay her marriage expenses. The wedding was called off. The photo shoot has brought in funding that will enable her dream of opening a boutique to come true.

Laxmi, now 22, was also 15 when she was attacked by her brother’s 32-year-old friend after she refused his marriage proposal. Earlier this year, US first lady Michelle Obama presented her with the International Women of Courage Award for campaigning against such attacks.

Ritu, 22, was attacked by her cousin during a property dispute. Sisters Sonam, 22, and Chanchal, 17, were asleep when acid was poured over them by a group of men who had been harassing them in their village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. In many of cases, the girls’ attackers were convicted, though such crimes in India often go unpunished.

Some 1,500 acid attacks are reported worldwide every year, according to the London-based group Acid Survivors Trust International, though it says the actual number is likely higher. India passed a law last year severely limiting sales of acid, but Stop Acid Attacks said it has since counted at least 200 attacks.

In August 2014 Delhi-based designer Rupa and her friends Rita, Sonam, Laxmi and Chanchal (all were acid attack victims) modelled the clothes from her new range, Rupa Designs, for photographer Rahul Saharan.