Acid attacks: India

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Contents

Statistics, year-wise

2010-12

The Times of India

Acid attacks 2010, 2011, 2012


Patriarchal societies such as Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana — with worst sex ratios — account for most number of acid attack victims while the northeastern states, where women play a more decisive role in society, have negligible number of such attacks, government data shows. While a total of 57 cases with 65 victims were recorded in 2010, in 2012, the figure jumped to 85 cases with 101 victims. Delhi, UP, Punjab, Haryana and Bihar together accounted for 53% of all victims. Delhi (31) and UP (39) accounted for 27% of all victims in the country between 2010 and 2012. The data also shows that arrests and prosecution have had no deterring effect, making it a problem of social attitude rather than law and order

Patriarchal societies top acid attacks

Delhi, UP, Punjab, Haryana Have Worst Sex Ratio, Account For Most No. Of Victims

Deeptiman Tiwary TNN

New Delhi: Government data on acid attacks point to patriarchal societies such as UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana — among states with worst sex ratios — accounting for most number of victims while those with greater role for women, such as the northeast, having negligible number of such attacks. The data, collected for 2010, 2011 and 2012, assume significance in the light of the December 3 Supreme Court order, directing all states and union territories to frame rules on acid sale by March this year.

Interestingly, the data, released by the home ministry, shows that arrests and prosecution have had no deterring effect on the crime which kept on rising year on year, making it a problem of social attitude than a law and order issue.

While a total of 57 cases with 65 victims were recorded in 2010, in 2012 the figure jumped to 85 with 101 victims.

Delhi, UP, Punjab, Haryana and Bihar together accounted for 53% of all victims. In fact, Delhi (31 victims) and UP (39 victims) alone accounted for 27% of all victims (264) in the country between 2010 and 2012.

That police action has had little effect in curbing the crime is evident from the fact that in 225 cases in the given period, 318 people were arrested and 305 prosecuted. Still attacks kept increasing year on year.

Delhi has been the only laggard among states with a large number of cases in delivering justice to the victims. In the 31 cases registered in Delhi, only 26 people were arrested and chargesheeted. In all other states, number of arrests and people chargesheeted is higher than the number of cases registered.

States in the northeast, where several societies are matriarchal and women make a large chunk of the workforce, have nil to single digit cases of acid attacks. Among larger states, Tamil Nadu has one of the best records with just one case in the past three years.

The apex court had on July 16, 2013 issued detailed directions to all state governments and union territories to frame rules within three months for regulating the sale of acid. However, after repeated lapses of the deadline and only Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir and Puducherry, making some headway, the SC issued fresh directives on December 3.

2012-14

The Times of India

Top 5 and state-wise number of acid attacks in India: 2012,2013,2014

Dec 26 2014

The recent acid attack on a female doctor in Delhi which was caught live on CCTV camera might have shocked the nation, but such incidents are routine in the national capital. Data shows that in the past three years, Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have witnessed the highest number of such attacks on women. A 2009 study done by the University of North Carolina's Center for Global Initiatives found that they are quite common in South East Asia. The ready availability of acid perhaps makes it a cheap weapon of choice in comparison to things like guns or knives.

2014

See graphic

Number of women victims of acid attacks, persons arrested and convicted: 2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

2016

Acid attacks in West Bengal are on the rise, February 18, 2017: The Hindu


According to the Acid Survivors Foundation India, Uttar Pradesh tops in 2016 on the number of acid attack cases


With the second incident of acid attack in Bengal in February 2017, the menace of acid attacks in the State has come back into focus.

According to the Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI), an NGO, West Bengal occupied the second spot after Uttar Pradesh in 2016 on the number of acid attack cases.

Uttar Pradesh occupied the first spot with 29 registered cases of acid attacks, while West Bengal stood second with 14 such cases last year. They are followed by Bihar in the third spot with 10 such cases.

However, Bihar is ahead of Bengal as far as acid attack-related injuries are concerned. While 14 registered attacks in Bengal have seen 22 survivors and casualties, in Bihar there were 10 attacks leaving 23 victims.

Speaking to The Hindu , the deputy director (Headquarters) of ASFI, Vikramjit Sen said: “Uttar Pradesh tops the chart with 29 attacks and 42 victims” in 2016.

Survivors and casualties

However, compared to 2015 the number of acid attack victims has considerably reduced in Bengal in 2016. In 2015 there were 41 victims (survivors and casualties), while it was 22 in 2016.

Earlier this week a woman was forced to drink acid by her husband in the Mallickpur area of Murshidabad district. According to locals, she was beaten up by her husband who wanted her to bring money from her parents’ place.

“After trying to strangle the woman, her husband poured acid into her month,” locals said.

She was later taken to a hospital in the neighbouring Birbhum district, where she collapsed. Last week, another woman was critically injured in South 24 Paraganas district when a local miscreant threw acid at her.

The incident took place inside a running train which was departing from Baruipur station.

Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of acid attack victims in both 2015 and 2016.

Drop in number

However, the numbers dropped from 61 (2015) to 42 (2016). According to the ASFI, despite strict directives issued by the SC in July 2014, there is still “severe lacunae” in regulating the sale of acid by State governments.

Free treatment of survivors

Private hospital returns fees it had charged

Hospital gives back money it charged acid survivors, March 12, 2017: The Times of India


Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) said that a private hospital has returned the money which it had charged from a family for treatment of two minor girls and their father who were survivors of acid attack.

The commission said last month, both the girls had sustained 15% and 20% burn injuries while their father had received 10% injury and a private hospital had charged them over Rs 70,000 for treatment.

“The family was forced to mortgage their jewellery for the same. The complainant then approached the commission. The commission immediately sought an explanation from the hospital as the judgment of the apex court ... categorically states that any acid attack survivor can seek free treatment at any private or government hospitalclinic,“ DCW said in a press release. “After following up several times, the hospital returned the entire amount to the family and the girls are receiving regular treatment,“ the statement said.

It said the incident took place on February 19 when a drunk person had thrown acid on the survivors after they had objected when he was peeking in the window of the girls' room. After the girls had noticed him, they complained to their father who had apprehended the man and reprimanded him, the commission said, adding that he returned after some time and threw acid on them.

Judicial interpretation

Judgements of the superior courts

Pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to each acid attack victim, SC tells state govts

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jul 18, 2013

The Times of India

Ex gratia aid

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has enhanced compensation from state governments to acid attack victims to a uniform Rs 3 lakh across the country. Earlier, the compensation used to vary and was up to Rs 50,000.

Sale of acid

The apex court, in its verdict on Thursday, directed state governments to implement stringent norms for retail sale of acid treating it as a poison under the Poisons Act, 1919, within 3 months.

The SC also banned sale of acid to minors and said that acid can be sold to only those who have valid identity cards issued by the government.

Non-bailable offence

The apex court has asked the Centre and states to make the acid attack offence non-bailable.

AP court lets acid attacker walk free after 1-month jail

Dhananjay Mahapatra, AP court lets acid attacker walk free after 1-month jail, Nov 09 2016 : The Times of India


Exhibiting lack of sensitivity towards acid attack victims and in complete disregard for the Supreme Court's consistent rulings to severely punish jilted lovers who use acid against girls, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has allowed an acid attack case convict to walk free after just one month in jail.

Attacked with acid in 2003 by one G Eswara Rao for declining his marriage proposal, an indelibly scarred woman went through gruelling court proceedings in the trial court and high court for 13 years only to realize that the convict would walk free as he had undergone one month imprisonment.

The state had appealed against the trial court verdict to impose only one year sentence on Rao. After the HC did not entertain the state's appeal and, in fact, took into account the convict's plea to reduce his sentence to the period already undergone, the state gave up and did not appeal against the HC order in the SC.

Now, she has moved the SC through advocate Aparna Bhat and expressed shock and dismay at the lenient sentence imposed by the HC on Rao, who was convicted by the trial court in 2007.

After the Nirbhaya gang rape-cum-murder case, Parliament in 2013 had amended the criminal law to provide for stringent punishment for crimes against woman. Section 326A of the IPC made acid attack on woman punishable with a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and mandated the convict to bear the expenses of treatment of the victim.

The SC had time and again reiterated the need for just punishment in heinous crimes. Surprisingly , here, the trial court as well as the HC agreed that mere pouring of acid could not take away the life of a person and acquitted Rao of attempt to murder charge.

The woman has sought enhancement of punishment on the convict.

Treatment in private hospitals

Treatment of acid attack victims free: SC to private hospitals

The Times of India

Apr 11 2015

AmitAnand Choudhary

UP reported highest no. of cases in 2014

Treat acid attack victims for free, SC orders pvt hospitals

The Supreme Court directed private hospitals to provide free treatment, including specialized surgeries, to acid attack victims and asked government authorities to take action against them if they fail to comply with its order.

After laying down a stringent regulatory mechanism for sale of acid to curb acid attacks on women, the court asked pri vate hospitals to bear the entire treatment cost of acid attack survivors, including plastic and corrective surgeries.

A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit added that hospitals must also provide free medicine, food and other facilities to such victims. Meanwhile, the Centre informed the court that 309 cases of acid attacks were registered in 2014 out of which 185 incidents were from Utter Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh ranked second with 57 cases. Union Territories maintained a clean sheet except Delhi, where 27 such cases were registered. The Centre informed the court that a meeting of state health secretaries was convened to frame a policy to curb acid sale and to take steps to provide free treatment to victims.

The court had last year enhanced compensation payable by state governments to acid attack victims to Rs 3 lakh from the earlier Rs 50,000. It had also directed states to implement stringent norms for retail sale of acid, treating it as poison under the Poisons Act, 1919, within three months.

The court had banned sale of acid to minors and said it could be sold only to those with identity cards issued by the government and who could specify the purpose for the purchase in writing. It had also asked the Centre and states to make acid attack of fences non-bailable.

Court pulls up Centre for road mishaps, asks it to frame policy to reduce menace

Expressing concern over more than 1.50 lakh people dying every year due to road accidents, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to convene a meeting of transport secretaries of all states and frame a policy to control the menace. The SC panel also directed the states to strengthen law enforcement against drunk driving, over-speeding and other offences. It said except Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland, no state had framed a road safety policy. The panel has recommended a ban on sale of alcohol on state and national highways to curb drunk driving.

Give acid attack survivors same benefits as disabled: SC

The Times of India, Dec 08 2015

AmitAnand Choudhary

Give acid attack survivors same benefits as disabled: SC


The Supreme Court asked all state governments to treat acid attack survivors as disabled persons to enable them to get benefits of reservation in government jobs and other social welfare schemes. A bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan said steps must be taken to bring such victims to the national mainstream and putting them in the category of disabled persons would be a step in that direction.

The victims can claim benefits under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act if they are included in the disabled category .

The bench also expressed concern over “rampant“ incidents of acid attack across the country despite the court passing a series of orders directing the states to put in place a stringent mechanism to check sale of acid. Terming “insufficient“ the minimum compensation of Rs 3 lakh for acid attack survivors, the Supreme Court on Monday instructed state governments to treat victims on a par with disabled persons so that they can access the benefits of reservation in government jobs and other social welfare schemes.

“We direct all the states and Union Territories to consider the plight of such victims and take appropriate steps with regard to inclusion of their names under the disability list,“ the bench said.

Hearing a case, the court directed the Bihar government to pay Rs 10 lakh to Chanchal, who suffered 90% burns on her face after an acid attack in 2012. Her younger sister, who also suffered burns in the incident, is to be paid Rs 3 lakh.

“Keeping in view the impact of acid attack on the victim's social, economical and personal life, we need to enhance the amount of compensation. We cannot be oblivious of the fact that the victim of acid attack requires permanent treatment for the damaged skin. The mere amount of Rs 3 lakh will not be of any help to such a victim,“ it said.

In this case, the sisters were paid only Rs 2.42 lakh in compensation by the state government, and not even given proper treatment by government hospitals in Patna and Delhi, forcing them to approach the SC through NGO Parivartan Kendra.

The petitioner alleged that an SC order on providing free treatment to acid at tack victims was not being followed, and that the state governments had failed in curbing the sale of acid.

Agreeing with the petitioner, the bench said, “These attacks have been rampant for the simple reason that there has been no proper control for the supply and distribution of acid.“

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