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Acid Attack – A scar for life

Posted by Shreyans Jain Friday, 9 August 2013 0 comments
Crimes against women are gradually becoming an integral part of the Indian society. The entire journey from the womb to the tomb is adorned with treachery and obstacles for a girl child. At every stage of life, she is vulnerable to attacks and exploitation and therefore, her interests remain imperilled. Ironically, the increasingly modern society is leading to commodification of the fair-sex and turning women into mere objects of lust. Declining moral values, little fear of law and an unrestricted access to liquor and filthy content on the Internet have been provoking perverted minds to attack the dignity of women to satiate their carnal appetite. What is alarming is the fact that low rate of conviction accompanied by a shoddy investigation process do not deter the perverts to commit crime in the society and consequently, they live with impunity.

India is among a handful of countries that witness the maximum number of acid attacks on women. With acids being available in the market, for purposes ranging from painting, use in car batteries, in de-weeding and as floor cleaning substances, they easily fall in the hands of those who want to wreak vengeance. In most cases, the male perpetrators who disfigure women by flinging the corrosive chemical over them are estranged lovers who seek to establish their masculinity once their offers are turned down.

Acid attacks permanently disfigure and eventually destroy the victim both physically and psychologically. Not only does the acid cause burning sensation, it melts away the victim’s skin and flesh and even go as far as dissolving her bones. The victim dies a hundred deaths and is left scarred for life. Such traumatic incidents not only lead to physical agony but they shatter the victim emotionally and leave indelible impressions in her mind. No medical care, however specialised and expensive, can cure a cure a victim off her sufferings and restore her former self.

The need of the hour is to strengthen the existing laws to protect women and implement them in the strictest possible manner. Section 326A of the Indian Penal Code prescribes a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment for deadly acid attacks that leave the victim grievously injured and causing severe permanent or partial damage and disability. Section 326B makes plans and attempts to fling acid on another a punishable offence with a jail term between 5 and 7 years with a fine, the amount of which goes to the victim.

In most cases, an acid attack victim needs a short- and long-term medical care in the form of specialised plastic surgery. The government should take necessary remedial steps to provide monetary relief and rehabilitation to acid attack victims. The guilty should be severely punished and socially ostracised. The media should play an important role in educating young males on how to counter adverse mood swings and accept rejection of proposal without nurturing bitterness and feelings of vengeance. Sale of acid must be regulated to prevent easy access to this lethal liquid. It should be sold only through licensed shops only after complete verification of the customer.

The true test of masculinity does not lie in harassing or disfiguring the female counterpart. Instead one should respect the sentiments of the person belonging to the opposite sex and should not impose one’s will on an unwilling person.


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