Acid attacks—Shame on the ‘so called’ humans!
It is a matter of shame for a mighty nation like India, to not to be able to provide safety to its women. Don’t you agree? In a nation which gloats about worshiping devils (goddesses), their own women feel unsafe and threatened. The growing incidences of hate crimes against women are an indication of the moral degradation that the society is suffering from. Very less efforts have been made to curb the menace of gruesome crimes against women, the chief being the practice of acid throwing which not only ruins a woman physically but the mental and emotional loss turns her into live corpse. With the growing incidents of acid attacks, it’s high time that serious measures are taken by the government at the national level as well as by local authorities to nip the evil in the bud. It’s a ghastly crime and stringent laws for the sale purchase and usage of acid need to be implemented so as to be able to put an end to such a horrendous act. What is disturbing is the fact that till recently the Indian Penal Code had no specific laws to deal with cases of acid attacks, had it not been for the CRIMINAL AMENDMENT ACT of 2013, the situation would have remained the same. It’s an irony that the act itself came in the wake of major mass protests following the brutal Nirbhaya’s case. It’s in fact a cruel irony that it took a heinous crime for the nation to demand what should have been demanded way earlier – A safe nation for its women. Earlier section 326 of the IPC applied to acid attack cases but the application of it was narrow and it was found to be ineffective in dealing with acid attacks. Then, under the eighteenth law commission of India, which was headed by Dr A.R Lakshmanan, where the new section 326A and 326B was proposed for the Indian Penal Code and section 114B in the INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT. According to section 326A, “Acid includes any substance which has acidic or corrosive character or burning nature that is capable of causing bodily injury leading to scars or disfigurement or temporary or permanent disabilities.” Besides this, Section 326A lays down the punishment for ‘acid throwing’—the minimum imprisonment being 10 years, and the maximum being life imprisonment, along with fine. Section 326B lays down the punishment for ‘attempted acid throwing’—the minimum being 5 years imprisonment and the maximum being 7 years imprisonment along with fine. Section 114B unlike earlier gives corroboration to the victim’s version. The judiciary has taken steps towards ensuring that no woman ever has to face such a terrible act. But only laws won’t help proper implementation of laws is necessary. The acid attack victims have to bear not only the physical consequences of it all but also falls a victim to long term social as well as psychological issues. They are forced to live a life full of loneliness and insecurities for no fault of theirs. It’s the responsibility of a progressive society to work towards their betterment and ensure that they don’t feel burdened with their lives. It’s great to see many NGOs working for acid attack victims and many celebrities supporting their cause on national as well as international platforms and many young men coming forward to marry the victims is nothing short of a fairy tale for them. The whole society has to come forth to reinstate their lost faith in humanity. ——————– About the Author: This article is contributed by Uroosa Wani, our intern.