Acid Attack: Should the punishment be more stringent? Ways to maim or murder our women- It never gets old. Sometimes they are killed in the womb itself, and if they are lucky enough to survive they are doused in kerosene and set alight, dragged and, raped, or Acid is thrown on their faces –perhaps the worst form of torture. Acid attack results in a living death, a lifetime in hell on earth. The victim becomes pariah, outcast from the society, employment and sometimes from their families too.
The statistics of acid attack in Asia itself is 1000 victims per year which is indeed very disturbing. The general idea is acid attack prevails mostly in small towns and rural areas, but it’s wrong to believe that urban English-speaking women are immune to this torture. There are many cases which can prove the same. Most of the time the reasons for acid attack are denial of marriage proposal, love affairs or dowry cases. It seems that there are many who still believe that women are just mere dummies who should follow the dotted lines of the society.
For example, the Pakistani victim Yusuf youhana was attacked with acid by her husband, a well-established Pakistani political person, for daring to ask for a divorce. She underwent 38 surgeries in 10 years span and finally committed suicide after so much of unbearable pain and humiliation. Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut’s sister was attacked just for denying a marriage proposal. There are many other everyday cases of acid attack; the list will fall short of space is endless. Now the Indian Government has included Acid attack in sexual assault section but it’s not enough.
Moreover the proposal of perpetrator bearing all the medical expenses is inexplicably dropped. Apart from suffering from humiliation, melting of the skin tissue, dissolution of bones amd reduction of one’s eyes to hollow sockets are some major concerns. Acid victims are people who end up having severe disabilities and they deserve the same benefits that are offered to the physically challenged: a monthly pension, concessions on public transport and reservations in higher education and jobs.
The government pays an amount of 2 lakh to the victims which is not insufficient and needs to be raised. We should take example from Bangladesh government , who took a bold step and restricted the buying and selling of acids in local market , which resulted in acid attack coming down significantly. On the contrary, In India we get hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid very easily in markets. We still use acid to clean our toilets though there are lots of other replacements for acid widely available in market.
A simple measure of banning acids will restrict its storage and distribution, and in required cases, making sure that transactions are recorded accurately; particularly at the point of sale. More importantly, the perpetrator should be severly punished for his rage and impromptu/hasty action that spoiled a life. Life imprisonment, death penalty, fine should be imposed in accordance with offence. In my view, no punishment can be stated stringent for such a heinous crime. So it’s better to look for prevention rather than a cure for this crime.