ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Corrosive Crime

The Supreme Court's ruling on curbing acid attacks on women is only the first step.

For the perpetrator, it takes only a few moments to throw the acid and gratify a gruesome sense of revenge against perceived rejection. For the unsuspecting victim of the acid attack (predominantly women) it means condemnation to a lifetime of searing pain, mutilation, often blindness and unaffordable and endless surgeries. Not to mention the even deeper psychological scars.

There are no official estimates of the number of acid attacks and their spread, since until very recently the Indian police did not register these attacks as a separate offence. However, most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) put the countrywide figure at about 1,000 acid attacks a year. The Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling of 18 July set the fight against this horrific crime on its first steps, detailing measures to control sale of acid over the counter, medical compensation to the victim and terms of punishment. It was a public interest litigation filed by a brave and young victim, Lakshmi, in 2006 that culminated in the SC’s ruling.

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