The Acid Attack fighters and survivors will be sitting on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar from December 12, to make sure that the issue of Acid Attacks on women in India gets the attention it deserves. The winter session of the parliament is in progress, and despite the survivors meeting the Home Minister from the erstwhile UPA government, nothing concrete has been done at a policy level. The central and state governments are still to follow the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India. Acids are easily available in loose bottles across the nation. The hunger strike is the simple non-violent way of reminding the Indian state about the forgotten promises. Acid Attack fighters Rupa, Ritu, Lakshmi and others will be initiating the hunger strike.
We believe it or not, Acid Attacks have become an integral part of the society we all are part of. As I write this article, I receive breaking news on my mobile that a young woman in Sri Nagar has been attacked by acid. We all have been reading about these attacks, and how the situation has only aggravated in absence of concrete policy by the center or the various state governments. The problem is deep rooted in the society. But it needs to be addressed by the policymakers at the earliest.
At a time when we silently witness the inaction of the government, the fighters have been doing things which need our attention. Stop Acid Attacks movement has started a model café in Agra called Sheroes Hangout, which is managed by women who have survived Acid Attacks and are fighting to make sure that it becomes a bigger issue. Ashish Shukla, convener of the Chhanv Foundation (which is behind the Stop Acid Attacks movement) says, “The demands are very simple. We are asking the Indian state to implement the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of the nation. The acids are easily available. There is no policy which makes sure the survivors receive a reasonable treatment at a good hospital, though the Supreme Court guidelines talk about all these. There are no plans by the government for the rehabilitation of the survivors. There needs to be burn centers at the district level. All of these need immediate attention.”
Even after repeated appeal by people from various segment of society, the situation remains worse. The Acid Attacks are driven on the machismo of the society. The issue needs intervention and attention at various levels. Let us hope we have a national policy which makes sure acids are not available easily, as well as there are proper rehabilitation policy for the acid attack survivors in the nation.
This article was first published on LokMarg on December 11, 2014