Welcome Measures

Greater Kashmir

In response to the growing incidence of the acid attacks in the state, the Government has now made it mandatory for the buyers of any kind of acid to produce photo identity cards. The measures have been taken following a directive from the Union Home Ministry to all the state governments for a strict regulation of the production, storage, distribution and sale of this hazardous material. Similarly, the educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments and Public Sector Undertakings which are required to store acid, shall also have comply with the guidelines. These are welcome measures and there is a hope that they will go some way to check the acid attacks on the women. In the past two years, there have been two acid attacks against women in Srinagar: first in January 2013 when a teacher at a private tuition centre at Barzalla was attacked and second, recently at Nowshehra when two car-borne sprayed acid at a college girl. In recent years, the acid attacks on women have witnessed a perceptible rise in the country. As many as 1000 women suffer the attacks everywhere. Tragically, the victims are generally left to fend for themselves. Many are blamed for inviting the attacks on themselves. As a result, they have to not only live with physical disfigurement but also social ostracization and deep psychological scars. The new rules on the acid sale, if strictly followed, will certainly create necessary checks in the sale of the acid. What is needed is a complete document trail of the hazardous material from its production through storage to its distribution and sale. The Home department has directed all the District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and Tehsildars to ensure strict compliance of the new rules. At the same time, penal provisions against the perpetrators have now been toughened. According to the new law, the acid attack is a separate Indian Penal Code offence and proposes punishment of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life imprisonment for perpetrators and fine that could go up to Rs 10 lakh.  What we also need is a greater social consciousness not only about the acid attacks and their hapless victims but also about the other crimes against women. Together with strict regulations and the strong penal laws we need a robust community response to the situation.