Letter from the Editor
A photo of acid attack victim Laksmi at the office of NGO Stop Acid Attack in New Delhi. (Gurinder Osan/Hindustan Times)
There can be few things that are worse than the plight of an acid attack victim whose life is destroyed in a few nano seconds.
According to the home ministry’s data, somewhere in India, every third day, a woman becomes a victim of an acid attack. Yet, despite the alarming rate at which lives are corroded, the government has done little to deal with this most horrific crime.
Laxmi was 15 when she became the victim of an acid attack in 2005. A year later, she went to court petitioning for a ban on the sale of acid. Thus began her long, hard legal battle, which ended only recently with the Supreme Court order regulating the sale of this deadly liquid weapon.
But this order is just one small step.
We at Hindustan Times are proud to have begun an initiative to wake up India against acid attacks. Our campaign, which began on July 21, has received overwhelming support from our readers. The life stories of young victims – mainly women – have inspired many to join HT in its fight against acid attacks.
Our readers have come forward to offer jobs, financial assistance and medical care to many of the victims who have boldly shared their trauma and shaken the consciousness of society. Our readers have been our most valuable partners in the Stop Acid Attacks campaign.
But this is just the beginning. Just the regulation of acid sales is, however, not enough. While there are scores of factories manufacturing acid without a licence, illegal sales of the deadly liquid are quite commonplace too. Moreover, the perpetrators of acid attacks, among the most heinous of crimes, deserve the severest punishment.
After an attack, medical and psychological care is what victims need the most. Join our online campaign and add your signature to our petition demanding that the state reimburses all medical costs and rehabilitates victims who have a right to live with dignity.
Do visit www.hindustantimes.com/stopacidattacks and add power to the petition.
We seek your participation in the fight against acid attacks. You can start at home, by sensitising your family and friends, against a crime that disfigures and scars women.
Lend your voice to a campaign that needs to be fought by each one of us, not just by the victims who have already suffered the worst.
Keep writing in to us and we will keep digging out stories of courage and reporting them in HT.
Join us in the campaign to Stop Acid Attacks.
Hindustan Times's coverage of the real stories of determination and grit shown by acid attack victims across the country. (HT photo)
Stirring the conscience
Over the past 10 days, HT has brought to you real stories of determination and grit shown by victims across the country.
July 21, 2013
Laxmi was 15 when she was pinned down by a man twice her age and splashed with acid. Her face turned a mass of third-degree burns. Now, at 23, she leads a fierce campaign against acid attacks. Read more
Laxmi (R) with other acid attack victims at the Supreme Court after hearing on a plea filed by her on the regulation of sale of the chemicals at the retail level in New Delhi. (Mohd Zakir/HT photo)
July 22, 2013
Meena Soni, Lucknow
Meena Soni was married off at 16 to a jewellery artisan, who stopped working soon after and got jealous that his beautiful wife was managing the family’s finances. He threw acid on a sleeping Meena and, while she was in hospital, committed suicide. Read more
Acid attack victim Meena Soni has so far got bail for 17 undertrials from the Lucknow Jail. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
July 23, 2013Haseena Hussain, Bengaluru
Haseena Hussain is a profile in courage. Her former employer poured acid over her, inflicting 65% burns and blinding her, after she refused to return to his workplace. After a 10-year bed rest, she now fights for the rights of acid attack victims. Read more
Haseena Hussain was a bright-eyed computer professional (earlier pic on her table) but she has since lost her sight. (AP Photo)
July 24, 2013Annu Mukherjee, Delhi
A successful bar dancer, Annu Mukherjee was attacked by a co-worker who was jealous of her earnings. From being the hotel’s top dancer for three straight years, Annu is now dependent on her younger brother after being blinded. She has had multiple surgeries. Read more
Annu Mukherjee want to be independent and live as normal a life as I possibly can. (HT photo)
July 25, 2013
Ritu Saini, Rohtak
Ritu Saini was an avid volleyball player. But she found herself a pawn in a family property dispute when her aunt hired criminals to attack Ritu with acid to settle scores with the teenager’s parents. She received 90 per cent burns on her face. Read more.
I feel like someone else wearing a misshapen mask, says Ritu Saini. (HT photo)
July 26, 2013Preeti Rathi, Mumbai
Preeti Rathi, from Delhi, had just landed in Mumbai to join the naval hospital Asvini when someone threw acid on her. She fought for life a month, but eventually lost the battle. There’s been no arrest. Read more
Preeti Rathi, our eldest child, was quiet, unassuming and hardworking. Good in studies and extra-curricular activities, her dream was to get a good government job.
Even though she could not speak, Preeti’s mind was alert. She would write messages to us, asking about her job and why she was attacked. She wanted life imprisonment for the accused.
July 27, 2013
Sabina Khatun, Kolkata
Sabina Khatun’s boyfriend had taken her to meet his family when they poured acid down her throat. The boyfriend meekly stood by. The accused are roaming freely and have now threatened to kidnap her. Read more
They emptied an acid bottle in my throat, says survivor Sabina Khatun. (HT Photo)
July 30, 2013
Chanchal Kumari, Patna
Coming from a family of humble means, Chanchal Kumari broke village tradition to enrol in Plus-2, and wanted to pursue a course in engineering. But local hoodlums, who used to tease her, inflicted 90 per cent acid burns on her for daring to ignore their advances. Read more
Chanchal Kumari was attacked by a bunch of local hoodlums when she didn’t pay any attention to their overtures. (HT Photo)
Treatment of acid attack victims should be free: Krishna Tirath
It’s a long, hard road to recovery for the victims
Finally, a ray of hope for acid attack survivors
Crime and punishment: a new law at last
Acid attacks: a look at India and other countries
Are you an acid attack victim? Do you know an acid attack victim? Tell us your story