indica News Bureau-
Acid attacks are again a hot topic of discussion in India after release of Deepika Padukone starrer movie ‘Chhapaak’. The film directed by Meghna Gulzar is inspired by the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, whose character is being portrayed by Padukone. The film is attracting a lot of media attention after Padukone’s visit to JNU to stand with students who were attracts by goons on January 7. Irked with Padukone’s visit to JNU, a section of social media users called to boycott the movie.
Amid the ongoing discussions on Deepika and ‘Chhapaak’ on Twitter, a user asked actress Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel, who is also an acid attack survivor, to reveal her attacker’s identity.
In three separate tweets, Rangoli wrote: “My attacker’s name is Avinash Sharma, he was in the same college as me, we were in the same friend circle, he proposed to me I started keeping distance I didn’t share same feelings, he would tell people some day he will marry me…”
“When my parents got me engaged to an Air Force officer he became very persistent about marrying me when I retaliated he threatened me to throw acid on me, I brushed such threats aside and never told my parents or went to cops this was the biggest mistake of my life.”
“I was sharing PG house with four girls, a young stranger came asking for me, my friend Vijaya said someone asking for you I opened the door, he was carrying a jug full of ….and just then in one second CHAPPAK…”
As per latest figures from the National Crime Records Bureau, acid attacks have been rampant in the last decade with shocking cases being reported from different parts of the country. Topping the list are states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Odisha and Kerala. A total of 244 acid attack cases were recorded across the country only in 2017.
According to statistics, about 300 acid attacks are reported in India each year. Survivor advocates say the number of attacks is probably close to 1,000.
India has the highest number of incidents of acid attacks in the world. In neighboring Bangladesh, in contrast, acid attacks have decreased since new laws restricted the sale of common chemicals and the death penalty was introduced for attackers.
The glacial pace of India’s legal system means even when attackers are charged, it can take between five and ten years for a conviction.
The number of attracts are not coming down due to faulty law and criminal justice system.
Media organization ABC reported such cases where the survivors are yet to get justice. Anju Sing, an activist working for acid attack survivors, said that she does not see any signs of slowing down of attack incidents. “As long as acid is easily available I only see it increasing. Acid is a weapon. You know how America is talking about guns? That’s how acid is used in India.” said Singh.
Anju Devi, a 21-year-old acid attract survivor said that she was attacked by her husband and his parents after she could not fulfill the dowry demands. In 2008, her husband and his parents held her down and poured acid all over her face.
She now works at the acid victims’ shelter in Delhi, earning a living as an administrator.
But her husband has not been punished.
“I have been fighting my case since 2008. A court found my attacker guilty and handed over seven years of imprisonment. But he is out on bail, roaming freely,”Devi said.