There is no stopping the acid attack menace. The crime, with the help of cheap and readily available acid, is rampant across India. To discuss the unregulated sale of acid in the capital that’s infamous for violence against women, Delhi Commission for Women Chief Swati Malliwal has called for a meeting of all District Magistrates.
Acid sale was banned by the Supreme Court in July 2013, but acid attacks are still on. There is no follow-up by the government to trace the acid sale trade and punish the culprits. So DCW has now suggested ideas to control the menace.
Ria Sharma, founder of Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), had started a campaign #EndAcidSale that got global recognition. She said, “Passing an order is one thing and implementing it is another and there is no such implementation of banning acid sale at the grassroots level.”
Not sounding too hopeful, she told Shethepeople.tv, “I do not think much is going to come out of the DCW meeting with the DMs of the city. If anything, the Supreme Court should take stock of the situation. A board was supposed to be set up where they were supposed to come up with a plan of action on how they are going to curb acid sale. I think that meeting needs to be done.”
Uttar Pradesh tops the list of acid attacks in the country. However there is no difference between urban and rural areas in terms of acid sale. “It is as much available and bought in urban areas as it is in rural areas. We have done stings where we have found shops selling acid openly. Even the shop below our office had it for sale,” Ria pointed out.
With so many organisations and people waking up to the harsh reality, campaigns related to acid sale have started picking up pace. The #EndAcidSale by MLNS was one such campaign that won International awards and collected over 3 lakh signatures of the people of India. The face of the campaign was an acid attack survivor herself — Reshma Khureshi who came on camera to give basic makeup tutorials and urging the country to end acid sale openly.
Recently Reshma walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week.
According to Ria, every state of India should have regulatory body to control the sale of acid in the country. “There is no nodal officer or one person in authority who people can approach to ask questions.”
“I feel at least one officer should be appointed in each state to regulate acid sale and punish the wrong-doers. Secondly, more substitutes to acids and safer alternatives should be made available.”
More than round-table meetings, strict action is required to end the menace and create a safer environment for young women and girls because they are the most targeted ones.