Role of Non-government Organizations (NGOs) in combating acid attack violence and Protecting acid attack victims: India and abroad
[Vol 3/Issue 2/ March 2018]
Amity Law School, Noida
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Acid attack violence happens in numerous nations but is especially predominant in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Cambodia. Even Observing that acid attack is worse than rape, a special women’s court in Mumbai on recently awarded capital punishment to the convict Ankur Lal Panwar for throwing acid on nurse Preeti Rathi in 2013 which caused her death, for spurning his advances and out of envy over her career growth.
Basically, acid attack savagery is an act of intimation terrorizing that includes the planned tossing of sulphuric, nitric, or hydrochloric corrosive onto another individual. However, study shows that Assaults are on the weaken in Bangladesh with 192 assaults recorded by a non-governmental association (from now on NGO) in 2007.
This paper will object to discuss the ways in which NGOs all around and the world communities linked grapple with and address this violence.
Key words: Acid Attacks, NGOs, Fatalties, Laws
The acid throwing is the most vicious form of crime in the society. Acid attack has its steep rise in past few years and as usual the most of the victim are women and only women. The horrific act of attacking people with acid has been taking place across different parts of country. Man has chosen an alternative form of action to exploit the life of women. Hydrochloric acid and Sulfuric acid which are easily available in the market are used for acid attack which melts the skin and even bones of the victim. Acid attack is such a heinous form of crime which makes the life of the victim miserable. It is evaluated that the most punctual case of acid attack savagery happened in Cambodia in the 1960s, and since that time, the issue has ended up an scourge in this little South East Asian nation. In the late 1990s through to 2005, acid was a favored weapon of choice for women and men looking to distort rivals and settle scores. Both women and men were assaulted for a number of reasons, counting:
• sexual envy,
• extramarital undertakings,
• land or commerce dispute,
• household viciousness,
• individual or family debate,
• theft, or
• Hate or vindicate.
Concerning Bangladesh, recorded data suggests that the first attack in this country occurred in 1967 and that attacks have steadily been on the rise, and similar to Cambodia, peaked in the late 1990s and the early years of 2000.
Assaults are on the moderate in Bangladesh with 192 assaults recorded by a non-governmental association in 2007. Associated to Cambodia, womens and men are assaulted with acidic solution; be that as it may the inspirations and the sex of the perpetrators contrast. Overwhelmingly, acid hurlers in Bangladesh are men whose inspirations are over land and commerce debate taken after by conjugal dispute.
It is however, observed that the frequency of acid assaults is expanding in India, with around 174 known cases taking place over the past few a long time . In spite of the fact thatacid assaults in other social surroundings can be committed against men, acid is overwhelmingly tossed against ladies in India and overseas most of the time.
Various factors responsible for Acid attacks against women are:
1. spurned love and affection,
2. sexual jealousy,
3. economic or land disputes,
4. Hate or revenge etc.
Some of the response for acid attacks in all three contexts might be:
• The relaxed and low-cost accessibility of acid;
• Old-fashioned acuities of women;
• Mutable sexual roles;
• Inspirations from the media; and
• Notions of disgrace, loss of face and loss of integrity, retaliation and vengeance.
Historically, acid attacks were also widespread in France, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe from the 18th century onwards. Today, in addition to acid attacks in Cambodia, Bangladesh and India, they are also reported widely in other parts of South East and South Asia; the Middle East; Central and Northern Africa; and, to a lesser extent acid attacks also occur in North America and Europe. These attacks seldom kill but result in serious disfigurement and suffering which confine women to their homes, thereby leading to economic hardship, social isolation and depression.
Brutality Involved in Acid attack violence:
Acid attack violence as being culturally, politically, legally, economically- sanctioned and often homicidal violence directed at girls, women and men, and perpetrated by both women and men who kill or seriously injure family and community members with impunity.
Another definition states that acid attack viciousness includes the tossing of sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid onto another individual, clearing out them physically, socially and candidly scarred for life. Particularly, this rough strategy of reprisal “melts human substance and certainly bones, causing agonizing annoyance and fear, and takes off the casualties jumbled and scarred for the rest of their lives”. Subsequently, acid assault viciousness is an deceptive human rights issue, that is, “throwing acid is one of the most exceedingly bad wrongdoings that a individual can commit”.
An outline of health outcomes of acid attack violence are found below in Figure One:
The most notable effects of an acid attack are the lifelong bodily disfigurement. The acid attack is a form of violent assault by throwing acid substance onto the body of another person with the intention to disfigure the body. Mainly acid are thrown at the face of victim, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The long consequence of such type of attack is that it makes the person blind, as well as permanent scarring of the face and body. The acid attack makes the life of the person worse and it affects their social, economic and psychological life.
The medical effects of acid attacks are extensive. Acid attack is not which can easily be recovered up, as the majority of acid attacks are aimed at face so, it depends upon the concentration of the acid and the period of time before the acid is thoroughly washed off with water or neutralized with a neutralizing agent. The acid attack makes our body paralyzed as it rapidly eat away our skin, the layer of fat beneath the skin, and in some cases even the underlying bones. Eyelids and lips may be completely destroyed, the nose and ears severely damaged.
Laws In India
Till recently there was not any specific law in India to deal with the cases of acid attack.
The Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with voluntarily causing Grievous Hurt by Dangerous Weapons or Means was not so effective in dealing with this heinous form of crime because it does not include acid attack.
The eighteenth law commission of India which was headed by Justice A.R. Lakshmanan then proposed a new section 326A and 326B in the India Penal Code and section 114B in the Indian Evidence Act.
The scope of the definition of section 326 is very narrow but it does not deal adequately with the issue of acid attack because:
It does not cover the various kinds of injuries inflicted because of an acid attack. The section does not cover the act of administering acid attack, i.e, planning it. The section also does not specify who the fine should be awarded to the section does not punish the intentional act of throwing of acid if no injuries occur. Further in cases of acid attack a presumption is incorporated in the Indian Evidence Act as Section 114B. The proposed Section 114B of the Indian Evidence Act shall read as under:
“Presumption as to acid attack– If a person has thrown acid on, or administered acid to, another person the court shall presume that such an act has been done with the intention of causing, or with the knowledge that such an act is likely to cause such hurt or injury as is mentioned in Section 326 A of the Indian Penal Code.”
This section was introduced to give wide perspective to acid attack. Acid Attack was recently introduced as a separate offence under the Indian Penal Code through Criminal (Amendment) Act, 2013.
According to the Section 326A of Indian Penal Code “Acid” includes any substance which has acidic or acid character or burning nature that is capable of causing bodily injury leading to scars or disfigurement or temporary or permanent disability. The long term consequences of these attacks may include blindness, as well as permanent scarring of face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychological, and economic difficulties. Section 326A and Section 326B of Indian Penal Code includes punishment which is given to an accused which read as follow:
Section 326A lays down the punishment for acid throwing. The minimum punishment is 10 years imprisonment. It can extend up to life imprisonment with fine.
Section 326 B lays down the punishment for attempted acid throwing. The minimum punishment is 5 years imprisonment. It can extend up to 7 years imprisonment with fine.
This amendment included punishment for those people who practice this heinous form of crime but the amendment was useless because after also people use to practice. So the best punishment will be tit for tat i.e., same thing should be done with those people who practice this crime. They should give realization by throwing acid on their face and on their family members. These will be the best punishment which can be awarded to them
Section 357B the compensation payable by the State Government under Section 357A shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim under section 326A of the Indian Penal Code.
357C. All hospitals, public or private, whether run by the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other person, shall immediately, provide the first-aid or medical treatment, free of cost, to the victims of any offence covered under section 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D or section 376E of the Indian Penal Code, and shall immediately inform the police of such incident.”.
These sections inserted after the recommendation of the Justice J.S.Verma Committee and it was also a proposal of 226th Report of Law Commission of India which dealt particularly with acid attack.
Though acid attack is a crime which can be committed against any man or woman, it has a specific gender dimension in India. Most of the reported acid attacks have been committed on women, particularly young women for spurning suitors, for rejecting the proposal of marriage, for denying dowry etc. The attacker cannot bear the fact that he has been rejected as seek to destroy the body of the women who have dared to stand up to him.
As we know that before the amendment there was no specific section or law which deals with this particular crime. Traditionally the offence is dealt with under Section 326 of the IPC which deals with ‘Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means’. This provision also deals with causing grievous hurt using ‘corrosive substances’ which include acids.
Today’s scenario in both National and International horizon
Today, acid attacks are reported in many parts of the world. Since 1990s, Bangladesh has been reporting the highest number of attacks and highest incidence rates for women with 3,512 Bangladeshi people acid attacked between 1999 and 2013.India is also now on high altering of acid attack after the case of Lakshmi. In 2000 in India there were 174 cases of acid attack but now it has taken a sudden rise. However, Bangladesh is the country which has highest number of cases in acid attack.
In most of these cases Hydrochloric and Sulphuric acid were used and all the victims were women. Though acid attack is a crime which can be committed against both man and woman but it has a specific gender dimension in India. Most of the reported acid attacks have been committed on women, particularly young women for spurning suitors. The victims in Karnataka were very young women between 16 and 25 years of age, and were attacked by men who were known to them. Mostly attacks took place in Public Places or at home.
Man who cannot face rejection take their ‘revenge’ by throwing acid in victim face so that the life of the person get destroy. Men throw acid on us with the intention of injuring or disfiguring our bodies, burn our faces, smash our noses, melt our eyes, and walk away as happy men. Men throw acid on us for taking revenge from us. Men emotions get hurted for ending relationships and for refusing sexual harassment, Sexual exploitation, proposals of marriage and demands for dowry. Since acid is so readily available across the counter in medical and other stores, acid attacks become a relatively cheap and effective way of committing acts of violence against women. Acid attack is common in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, and a few other countries. All across the country, one can walk into a number of shops in rural or urban centers and purchase any amount of highly concentrated acid from shopkeepers, who barely raise an eyebrow when selling this highly acid substance to their consumers. Besides the use of concentrated acid in several industrial processes, highly concentrated sulphuric and hydrochloric acid is sold to the general public due to its multi-purpose usage, which is the real problem.
In countries like Pakistan, highly concentrated acid is used to remove lint from cotton seed, as it is a cheap way to obtain clean seeds ready to be replanted. The accessibility of acid not only encourages its use to perpetrate the crime of acid throwing, but the widespread use of acid by the rural populace also poses health hazards, causes accidents and has detrimental effects on the environment. All these factors provide a convincing enough argument for the government to find substitutes for the prevalent cotton seed treatment. In urban areas, it is a common household practice to use acid for cleaning or even drain-opening purposes. Promoting the use of safer cleaning agents would not prove very difficult, if government policies are put in place to deter their manufacture and sale. Sale licenses are issued for possession and sale of poisonous substances, including acids, under the Poison Act (XII) of 1919.
Few reported Cases related to acid attack in India:
1. Laxmi v UOI :-the Supreme Court passed an order to put ban on selling of acid in shops. For preventing acid attacks, the Supreme Court has completely prohibited the counter sale of the chemical unless the seller maintains a recording of the address and other details of the buyer, and the quantum. Dealers can now only sell the chemical after the buyer showed a government issued photo identity card and after specifying the purpose of purchase. The seller should submit the details of sale to the local police within three days of the transaction. Acid should not be sold to any person under 18 and all stocks must be declared with the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) within 15 days. Undeclared stocks could be confiscated and the defaulter fined up to Rs.50, 000. Acid attack is now a non-bailable and cognizance offence.
2. Devanand Vs. The State: – The accused was convicted under Section 307 and was imprisoned for 7 years.
3. In Marepally Venkata Sree Nagesh Vs. State of A.P:the accused was suspicious about the character of his wife and inserted mercuric chloride into her vagina, she died due to renal failure. The accused was charged and convicted under Section 302 and 307 IPC.
4. State of Karnataka by Jalahalli Police Station vs. Jospeh Rodrigues : it is one of the most famous cases involving acid attack. The accused threw acid on a girl, Hasina, for refusing his job offer. This deeply scarred her physical appearance changed the colour and appearance of her face and left her blind. The accused was convicted under Section 307 of IPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Compensation of Rs. 2, 00,000/- in addition to the Trial Court fine of Rs 3, 00,000 was to be paid by the accused to Hasina’s parents.
5. Parivartan Kendra Vs. Union of India :Supreme Court issued a direction that the State Governments/ UT should seriously discuss and take up the matter with all the private hospitals in their respective State/ UT to the effect that the private hospitals should not refuse treatment to victims of acid attack and that full treatment should be provided to such victims including medicines, food, bedding and reconstructive surgeries. The Apex Court said that there is no need to set up a separate Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and the Court also clarified that the State Government/UT concerned can give even more amount of compensation more than Rs. 3Lakh.
6. (Preeti Rathi Case) State of Maharashtra v. Ankrur Panwar: in the first such order in an acid attack in Maharashtra a special women’s Court here sentenced Ankur Panwar to death. The accused was convicted of the charge of throwing acid on Preeti Rathi at Bandra station in 2013 after she chose to pursue her nursing career, declining his proposal for marriage. Special Judge Anju S. Shende said “According to the mitigating and aggravating circumstances, the facts of the case and the recent acid attack judgments by the Supreme Court, the accused to death.
Government Organisations (GOs) and Non-government Organisations (NGOs) responses to acid attack violence:
A complex milieu of inter-related boundary, plans, and issues support the plan and usage of mediations foracidassault survivors in Cambodia, Bangladesh, India and somewhere else. The most noteworthy of these are from NGOs and government organisations. NGOs give the instruments for reacting to the issue of acid assault viciousness, as the political environment in these three nations makes it essential for NGOs to fill “a much required part in creating mediation programs where the government has constrained resources”.
There are now several NGOs, included in the heading benefit arrangement to acid assault survivors in Asia and Africa. Be that as it may, there are various others who give mediation and administrations to acid assault survivors. In all three nations, the government works the biggest burns units where most acid assault survivors go for prompt burns medications.
NGOs give the instruments to reply to the issue of acid assault savagery in Cambodia, Bangladesh and India, and this is too the case in most other nations where acid assault savagery is perceived as an issue.
While numerous NGOshave pushed for social, restorative and lawful changes thathave helped in moving forward wellbeing, instruction and preparing, human rights, laws and psychosocial administrations for acid assault survivors; to date, none of them have created a thorough and committed program that really recognizes or addresses root causes of acid assault savagery.
The following is a preview of few of the NGOs and organizations that either work only with acid assault survivors on restorative, budgetary, lawful, and social bolster, or who work with women, young women and men who are casualties of viciousness or torment (henceacid assault survivors are too included in their programs and mediations).
Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI)
ASTI is a UK registered not-for-profit charity and the only international organisation whose sole purpose is to end acid violence at a global level. ASTI was founded in 2002 and has worked with a network of six local partners in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Uganda that it has helped to form. ASTI has helped provide medical expertise and training to our partners, conducted valuable evidence based research, raised valuable funds to support survivors of acid attacks and helped change laws.
Cambodian League For The Promotion And Defense Of Human Rights(LICADHO)
LICADHO is a national Cambodian human rights organization. Since its establishment in 1992, LICADHO has been at the forefront of efforts to protect civil, political, economic and social rights in Cambodia and to promote respect for them by the Cambodian government and institutions. Building on its past achievements, LICADHO continues to be an advocate for the Cambodian people and a monitor of the government through wide ranging human rights programs from its main office in Phnom Penh and 13 provincial offices.
Children’s Surgical Centre (Csc) And Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity(CASC)
CSC works in the Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to provide free healthcare services to impoverished Cambodians. A rugged, highly functional, surgical unit is housed within a compound of buildings loaned by the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSAVY) and co-operates with the other rehabilitation organisations in the compound.
CASC services include:
Surgical, medical, and psychological treatment
Vocational training and social reintegration projects
Legal assistance and advocacy for legal reform
Awareness raising, research, education and advocacy to eliminate acid violence altogether (CASC).
Association Of The Blind In Cambodia (ABC)
The ABC is dedicated to the rehabilitation of the blind in Cambodia, regardless of their gender, socio-economic, religious and cultural background. The ABC is a non-profit and non-political Association. ABC is a self-help body made up of blind and visually impaired persons as members.
The Association of the Blind in Cambodia (ABC) was established officially since 2000 as national umbrella organization for Blind and Visually Impaired people. ABC is official registered with Ministry of Interior, Council Minister and signed MOU with Ministry of Social Affairs, Venterans and Youth Rehabilitation. ABC is also a member of WUB, WBUAP, WBUAP Massagge Commission, member of IBSA and member of ICEVI.
Campaign And Struggle Against Acid Attacks On Women (CSAAAW)
The CSAAAW is an Indian enlisted trust and fusion comprising: NGOs (Mahila Jagruti, Hengasira Hakkina Sangha, and People’s Union for Gracious Freedoms), scholastics, legal counselors, writers, women’s rights activists, understudies and other concerned people from over Karnataka (South Asia Citizens Wire (in the future SACW). Based in Bangalore, CSAAAW helps survivors with picking up get to lawful, restorative and social administrations, and works to avoid advance assaults (SACW).
Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF)
ASF was formed in 1999 with the growing concern of the rising trend of acid violence in Bangladesh. Acid violence is a form of gender based violence that reflects and perpetuates the inequality of women in society. Gender based violence is a common scenario in Bangladesh.
Established in 1983,Naripokkho is “a Dhaka-based feminist advocacy organization” that works to advance the situation of women, to struggle against violence and inequity and raise consciousness about women’s rights in Bangladesh .
Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan (ASFP)
ASFP is a registered charitable organisation, providing comprehensive services to meet the medical, surgical, psychological, legal, and rehabilitation needs of the acid attacked people in all regions of Pakistan. They offer a four pronged approach of: A Nursing and Support Unit; Rehabilitation Program;
Human Rights Commission Of Pakistan (HRCP)
Established in 1986, HRCP is a non-partisan non-government organisation that aims to further the cause of human rights in Pakistan. It also aims to expose human rights violations by creating awareness and redressing wrongs. As portion of its promotion and mindfulness work, the HRCP collects measurements from daily paper reports relating to acid assaults in Pakistan, and produces these discoveries in their Rights of the Distraught and State of Human Rights reports (HRCP).
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.
Ansar burney trust
Established in 1980 by Ansar Burney, Advocate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi; the Ansar Burney Trust was the first organization to introduce true human rights in Pakistan. With a mission to work as a non-political, non-governmental and non-profitable organization, we started our fight against all forms of injustices, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment, child abuse, cruelty to women and other more subtle forms of human and civil rights violations without any discrimination or affiliation.
Acid survivors foundation uganda (ASFU)
The ASFU’s mission “is to support acid attack survivors to enable them to lead productive independent lives, and to remove the scourge of acid violence from society” (ASFU). Established in Kampala in 2003, ASFU funds medical care, provides training and education to community, police and other agencies; and supports acid attack survivors with counselling and advocacy (ASFU).
The height of brutality in acid attacks is more than that in the cases of rape. Rape is considered as destroying the very soul of the victim, but even then if she is kept at a safe place she can stay without disclosing her identity; but in the case of an acid attack, they [the victims] have to move around with their bodies. In the I would like to suggest making a particular legislation which deals with the acid attack and the problem of the acid victim because the acid victims will have to face problem in their whole life.
To make specific legislation this would deal with the regulation of the acid.
Center Government and State Government both would come forward and make a separate fund which deals with compensation payable to acid victims.
1. See http://www.rediff.com/news/report/death-sentence-to-man-who-threw-acid-on-preeti-rathi-inmumbai/20160908.htm, last visited on 01/01/2018
2. Morrison, John, Executive Director of Acid Survivors Trust International (hereafter ASTI), Factfinding visit to Cambodia 3rd to 9th November 2005. York: ASTI, 2005.
3. Supra note 2
4. Supra note 2
5. Source: Campaign and struggle against Acid Attack on Women (CSAAAW), Burnt not defeated 21-22 (2007)
6. https://blog.ipleaders.in/acid-attack-sentencing-legislation-india/#_ftn5, last visited on 03/03/2018
7. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29766541(accessed on 19.08.2014).last visited on 19/01/2018.
8. https://blog.ipleaders.in/acid-attack-sentencing-legislation-india/#_ftn5, last visited on 03/03/2018
9. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
10. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
11. https://blog.ipleaders.in/acid-attack-sentencing-legislation-india/#_ftn5, last visited on 03/03/2018
12. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
14. Proposal for the inclusion of acid attacks as specific offences in the Indian Penal Code and a law for compensation for victims of crimes, Law Commission of India,2008 at p.3
15. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
16. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
17. http://www.ijhssi.org/papers/v4(1)/Version-1/C0410106013.pdf, last visited on 03/03/2018
18. (2014) 4 SCC 427
19. 1987 (1) Crimes 314
20. 2002 CriLJ 3625
21. Decided in the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala on 22/8/2006
22. State of Maharashtra v. Ankrur Panwar Decided in September 2016
24. Supra note 24
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