A 22-year-old man was detained on Tuesday in Karnataka for throwing acid on a minor after she turned down his advances several times. A case has been reported under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) Act.
The accused has reportedly been identified as Sumanth, a Kurupete resident in Kanakapura. The victim suffered second-degree burns on her eye, partially damaging it.
With this case, the issue of the open sale of acid in the market and the nationwide increase in acid attacks has been raised once more.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported that there were 4,28,278 cases of crimes against women in India in 2021, up from 3,71,503 in 2020, which represents a 15.3% increase.
According to NCRB-Crime data in India, the total number of cases reported in 2019 is 50, with 54 victims shown in the data. The total number of cases reported in the year 2020 is 56, and the victims in these cases are 58. The total number of cases shows 69, and the involved victims in these cases are 71.
When we checked the data for the last 3 years, it showed many people had gone through incidents of acid attacks, which affected the victim physically, emotionally, and mentally. Many of them have lost their self-esteem, as it has put many of the women down. While many of them lose their eyesight and kidney function, they also have difficulty breathing due to the damage to their nostrils.
When we talked to lawyers about the increasing issue of acid being so easily available to people in the state, here’s what they had to say:
Advocate Abha Singh told Afternoon Voice, “Even if there is a ban on the sale and purchase of acid as per the Supreme Court order and it can be allowed to operate from licensed shops, it is still easily available everywhere.”
Many young people become involved in this crime and easily dispose of acid. “These incidents usually occur as a result of rejection from a girl, and acid has been thrown on her face to put her down and take revenge,” Advocate Singh continued.
Many acid-survivors are not able to get a normal job, which people usually need for their survival; they are not able to accomplish their goals, as many of them have been told to be quiet by their parents.
“To protect many people, especially girls and women, from the increased number of acid attacks, there should be awareness campaigns set up,” said Advocate Manisha Rote.
Following the incident in Karnataka, we attempted to contact many BJP leaders to better understand the situation as an increase in the number of cases is seen in the state of Karnataka, but they refused to comment.
Even after so many legal aids were brought into the system, acids are still easily available on the market. When we spoke to some acid attack survivors to know the reason for people not filing complaints over this issue, an acid attack survivor and activist, Daulat Bi Khan, said, “The law in our country is not at all stringent, and even if any survivors are filing cases against them, they are easily out on bail, which doesn’t leave any regret for the crime they have attempted.”
When we spoke to some political leaders of other states, we asked them about the increased number of cases despite stringent laws on the sale and purchase of acid and also asked why there were no strict actions taken to curtail this issue.
“I have raised the issue in parliament for the stringent law revolving the acid, as it is easily available online in the name of floor cleaner, which has to stop as many people are misusing it for attempting heinous crimes,” parliamentarian Dr Fauzia Khan said.
While a BJP leader disagreed, stating, “The government should work against the easily available acid in the market, but if a complete ban is applied on it, criminals will find another source of weapons,” said Dr Prameela Devi, a former member of the Kerala Women’s Commission and State Vice President of the BJP.