22 year old Harpreet Kaur was preparing for her marriage, the biggest event of her life, but all her dreams were shattered when she was attacked with acid while grooming herself in a beauty parlor in Ludhiana.
The police investigation revealed that the divorced wife of the groom’s elder brother masterminded the attack, She had conspired with her paramour, just to teach their former in laws a lesson. The ill-fated victim Harpreet Kaur died after 20 days of this incident in Mumbai. All the accused, including the divorced wife of the groom’s brother were arrested.
This is just a single instance, among the numbers of acid attacks committed across the country every day. Recently, in Jagadhari in Haryana, two real sisters became the victim of acid attacks. The accused are yet to be nabbed. In everycase, nothing that could be called ‘enough punishment’results. Meanwhile, incidents of acid attacks are increasing throughout the country . Although the Government has banned the open sale of acid, but the traders as well as the state governments are reluctant enough to enforce this ban.
Why acid attacks? There could be many a reason behind the acid attacks, but statistics say that the issue of strained relationships and love affair plays a major role behind this kind of inhuman act.
In most of the cases, when a girl or woman is attacked, the accused is found to have a crush on the victim and when he fails, he commits the acid attack in frustration and disgrace. Apart from the unrequited love, there are some other reasons like a family feud, and crminal intent behind these kinds of attacks. Harsh words by the Apex court In its verdict on 18 July, 2013, The Supreme Court had banned the open sale of acid in the country.
And the Court also slammed both the state and center governments for their irresponsible attitudes towards acid attack victims. Later in a reply to a PIL filed in the Supreme Court all the state governments had filed their affidavits of their actions taken towards the acid attacks. The Haryana Government had impressed the apex court by bearing the entire cost of the treatment of acid attack victims in the state.
Steps that are needed There are no specific laws against acid attacks in our country. According to the organizations working on acid attacks, it is mostly women who are victimized of the acid attacks. A concrete law could be brought into effect if acid attacks are categorized under violence against women, physical, mental and sexual assault. In most acid attack cases, the victim does not die, but her face and life are ruined.
Hence, acid attacks must be dealt separately and specifically and must be categorized under heinous crime. The offence should be made nonbailable and the minimum sentence to be life imprisonment.
Even the Supreme Court of India has stated that the victims of the acid attack cases do not get justice. Hence, the government must fast tracki the cases of acid attacks and help the victims get justice. Protection officers to deal with threats and potential risks to women’s safety must be appointed to stop acid attacks.
Acid attack victims must be given complete legal support to ensure they do not have to struggle a lot to get justice. The Centre and state governments must facilitate the victims with compensation and government jobs to help them take charge of their lives. The women victims of acid attacks mainly face the struggle of expensive surgeries, which hinders their appropriate and speedy treatment. Hence, government must take the responsibility of their treatment.
With first registered case of acid attack in 1967 the list has gone higher and higher every year. In 1996, there were 47 reported cases of acid violence. In 1997, the number rose to 130. In 1998, there were over 200 reported cases. It is highly likely that the number of actual cases is considerably higher. In 1999 the Acid Survivors Foundation started to collect data and in its first year documented 139 known cases.
It is highly likely that the number of actual cases is higher. In 2000, 226 cases were documented by the Acid Survivors Foundation. In 2001, 343 cases were documented. In 2002 the highest number recorded as 484 which had been lower a little bit in the last year. In 2003, the number was 410 cases.