INDIA - ACID ATTACK VICTIMS SUFFER "LIVING DEATH." NEW LAW ON ACID SALE & COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS, BUT JUSTICE REMAINS ELUSIVE
Reshma before and after
Amid the horror of the attack, which
followed a family dispute, Reshma Qureshi should have received swift state aid
But, five months later, she is yet to receive a penny.
“One of my eyes is ruined, yet no help is coming,” the 18-year-old told AFP in her family’s cramped Mumbai tenement, as tears ran down her disfigured face, to which her mother applied cream to soothe the burning.
Acid attacks have long plagued
Twenty-year-old Ritu was attacked by her cousin during a dispute over property about two years ago.
Those who survive the attacks face lifelong scars and social stigma. Reshma, once a pretty and outgoing commerce student, no longer socialises with friends but lies quietly on the family bed, saying and eating little.
Despite steps taken last year to help wipe out the scourge and improve financial aid for survivors, activists say little has changed.
“Still there’s no awareness on the issue,” said Alok Dixit of the New Delhi-based Stop Acid Attacks campaign group, accusing authorities of “buying time”.
The Supreme Court in July last year gave Indian states three months to enforce restrictions on the sale of acid, but campaigners say it remains easy to purchase.
The court also said victims should get 300,000 rupees in compensation, a third of it within 15 days of the assault.
Dixit said he knew of nobody who had received this initial sum so quickly, while only two in 100 cases had managed to win the full amount.
“People don’t know how to apply for compensation. The authorities don’t know,” he said.
Even if claims were successful, the figure is “not at all enough” for the costly and multiple plastic surgeries required, Dixit added.