Acid attacks—Burning bodies, wrecking lives!
Acid – any class of substances that liberate hydrogen ions in water, are usually sour, corrosive and have a ph of less than 7. This is how the illustrated Oxford dictionary describes acid. I read the entire definition over and over again, to make sense of it. Obviously it is absurd, for it makes no mention of the fact that acid is a very potent weapon to attack women. So according to the dictionary, acid is not a weapon. Strange, strange indeed. Then how and why is it used to attack girls? Just because it burns through the skin and clothes, just because it will leave the girl disfigured for the rest of her life? That’s quite well thought of. But for such a punishment, she must have committed a heinous crime, she must have left someone dead, must have murdered someone, must have disfigured someone for life wait here is the catch, all she did was to refuse a boy’s proposal and hurt his ego. Such a heinous crime it was! So, what is the punishment when the police catches up with this guy? What? Just two years imprisonment? Just two years for disfiguring, in some cases killing or blinding another fellow human being for life? Well the dictionary is just plain wrong – it should mention that acid is the best way to attack a woman; it really is, especially if you are in India. Acids are nothing but a clutch of chemical compounds, which in their pure form can burn through most elements; even iron, steel, silver and gold ; and are sold for as low as rupees 10 for a litre at common general stores as toilet cleaners. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how and where the use of acids started against women , but what can be definitely pointed out is the fact that in one form or another, more than ten thousand women in our country are subjected to such attacks every year. And the reasons for such attacks often border on edge of pointlessness. Imagine this – a female teacher was attacked with acid bulbs for scolding a student for cheating in an examination. The teacher survived with minor burns but this example stands a strong evidence to the fact that over the years, these loosely sold acids have become quite a threat to women. However, what is more disturbing is the punishment for this crime. The imprisonment ranges from six months to five years. So a person gets a maximum of five years for damaging the face, body and often the entire life of a woman. Yet another stupendous example of how women are always treated as second grade citizens. The trend for these acid related attacks is seen majorly in semi-developed urban areas and semi-urban areas where there is easy availability of such cleaning acids and virtually no risk of being caught. Acid burns through the life of a woman, rendering her unable to live a normal life ever again. The punishment for such a heinous crime should at least be life imprisonment. And to prevent such crimes from happening, the loose sale of acids should be banned. An Identification system should be introduced at the shops which sell acids, and the sale of acids for non-medical and non-educational purposes should be banned completely. Or else we will never be able to stop the better half of our society from getting BURNT. ——————– About the Author: This article is contributed by Yashaswi Singh, our intern.