Acid being sold openly across the country. According to Supreme Court directive, minors are not allowed to purchase acid, and details of the sale are supposed to be provided to the local police station within three days.(HT File Photo)
Acid being sold openly across the country. According to Supreme Court directive, minors are not allowed to purchase acid, and details of the sale are supposed to be provided to the local police station within three days.(HT File Photo)

Four years after ban, acid sales in free flow under Supreme Court’s nose

India has the highest incidence of acid attacks in the world but little is done to stem their occurrence.
By Snigdha Poonam | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Noida/delhi/gurgaon
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2017 02:19 PM IST

On March 24, two men allegedly accosted a woman aboard a Lucknow-bound train and poured a bottle of acid down her throat. A day later, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited her at a city hospital and offered a relief package of Rs 1 lakh. Her assailants were arrested soon afterwards.

This is the procedure followed by Indian authorities every time a newsworthy case of acid attack emerges. Little, however, is done to stem the occurrence of such incidents.

India has the highest incidence of acid attacks in the world, with the number of such cases rising from 83 to 349 between 2011 and 2015.

The train acid attack was just one of the many that have occurred in Uttar Pradesh lately.

On March 21, a Ghaziabad woman suffered over 50% burns on her face and body after a former boyfriend attacked her under similar circumstances. The solution used in this case was an acid-based toilet cleaner available at provision stores across the country.

Easy availability of acid is the primary reason for India’s failure to prevent such attacks. Four years after the Supreme Court ordered every state and Union Territory to outlaw the over-the-counter sale of acid, one can still buy a bottle without much difficulty in various places across the country.

Take Ghaziabad, for instance, where the 19-year-old woman was attacked right outside her house.

A trip to Chopla market in this locality is enough for anybody to acquire a bottle of the potent liquid. When an HT reporter went to purchase a toilet cleaner from a shop located in this area, its owner immediately directed a helper to fetch an ominous-looking bottle from another outlet across the road.

“No conventional toilet cleaner can rid your bathroom floor of stubborn stains,” he explained. “Acid can clean anything!”

No identification documents were shown and no questions were asked either. By merely paying Rs 50, the reporter became the proud owner of a bottle of acid.

“No Harpic-sharpic can do the job as effectively as tezaab. It will even open choked commodes and remove cement deposits from the bathroom floor.”

Sometimes you are spared even the customary walk to the market. Just look out of the window and you can see a bicycle-borne vendor yelling “tezaab khareed lo” for all potential acid attackers to hear.

In neighbouring Noida, a five-litre can of hydrochloric acid can be bought for Rs 100.

A shopkeeper at Harola market was equally confident of its potency. “No Harpic-sharpic can do the job as effectively as tezaab. It will even open choked commodes and remove cement deposits from the bathroom floor,” he said.

“But don’t let it touch your skin,” he added. “You may not like that.”

Another shopkeeper in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar — located about 15km from the Supreme Court — was more than happy to part with a bottle of acid for Rs 30. He, however, was less vocal about the dangers it may pose.

“This does not seriously harm the skin,” he said shortly, turning his attention to other customers.

The Supreme Court order, which was pronounced in 2013, also instructed governments to issue acid-sale licences to select retailers. Any outlet authorised to sell the volatile liquid was mandated to ask buyers for address proof and a photo identity card, so they can be traced in case of an untoward incident. Minors were not allowed to purchase acid, and details of the sale were supposed to be provided to the local police station within three days.

Today, few of these regulations are observed.

The present state of affairs is disconcerting for acid attack survivors who demand more effective action. The campaign is headed by Laxmi, who suffered a horrific acid attack in 2005 by a man whose advances she had turned down.

“Acid is still being sold openly everywhere. During our ‘shoot acid’ campaign last year, we shot many videos of shopkeepers giving it away freely. Acid can also be procured from small factories that use chemicals in their manufacturing processes. Raids don’t help because factory owners are always informed in advance by the local police,” she told Hindustan Times.

In 2013, Laxmi had petitioned the Supreme Court to pass an order regulating the sale of acid and rehabilitating victims. “Its orders should be enforced more strictly by states,” he said.

Some states, such as Haryana, seem to fare better than others at imposing the rules. The police in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh say they find it hard to monitor all the shops under their ambit.

“We conduct surprise checks at licensed shops from time to time,” said a senior police officer in west Delhi.

Zaheer Khan, the station house officer at Noida Sector 58, claimed that the sale of acid in the area is limited to a few closely monitored shops.

“Occasionally, we check whether their supply records are in order. We also ensure that they keep a record of the buyers,” he said.

(With inputs from Peeyush Khandelwal, Pawan Pandita, Ipsita Pati and Shiv Sunny)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Representative Photo(PTI )
Representative Photo(PTI )

Republic Day 2021: Govt announces gallantry award winners. Full list here

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:07 PM IST
The wartime Chakra series awards include highest Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra. The peacetime highest gallantry awards include Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.
Close
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

'India foiled expansionist move in Ladakh': President's veiled dig at China 

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:58 PM IST
The President said that soldiers of the armed forces ensure security of our national boundaries amid severest conditions including in Galwan Valley and Siachen.
Close
"Our national interest will be protected at all costs," the President declared in his address to the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day.(ANI Photo)
"Our national interest will be protected at all costs," the President declared in his address to the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day.(ANI Photo)

President Kovind says Indian armed forces 'adequately mobilised'

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:57 PM IST
President Ram Nath Kovind's remarks came amid the nearly nine-month-long military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
Close
ITBP personnel during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi. (ANI)
ITBP personnel during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi. (ANI)

Attending Republic Day ceremony in Delhi compulsory, Govt tells officers

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:57 PM IST
  • In a letter sent to all government ministries and departments Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba warned "that serious view would be taken" against those who fail to attend the ceremony despite invitations
Close
Covid-19 vaccination at a government hospital.(AP)
Covid-19 vaccination at a government hospital.(AP)

Odisha meets over 92% of Covid-19 vaccination target, leads among all states

By Debabrata Mohanty | Edited by Sparshita Saxena, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:54 PM IST
  • Of the 1.92 lakh beneficiaries that were to be vaccinated till January 25, the state has covered 1.77 lakh.
Close
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi passed away on Monday.(Photo: INCIndia/ Twitter)
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi passed away on Monday.(Photo: INCIndia/ Twitter)

Republic Day 2021: Tarun Gogoi, Ram Vilas Paswan among 10 Padma Bhushan awardees

Written by Prashasti Singh
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:55 PM IST
Prominent Shia preacher and scholar Shri Kalbe Sadiq was the third person to have received the award posthumously this year.
Close
A security personnel keeps vigil at Rajpath on the eve of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi.(PTI)
A security personnel keeps vigil at Rajpath on the eve of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi.(PTI)

Senior officers must attend R-Day event at Rajpath or face action: Govt

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:48 PM IST
"You may suitably advise all officers of your ministry/ department, who are invited to the Republic day ceremony at Rajpath, to attend the function," the letter by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said.
Close
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

Full text: President Ram Nath Kovind’s speech on eve of 72nd Republic Day

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:44 PM IST
Here’s the full text of President Kovind’s speech
Close
Karur: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with a woman at the 'Farmers Convention' at Vangal Marigoundan Palayam, during his election campaign for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, in Karur, (PTI)
Karur: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with a woman at the 'Farmers Convention' at Vangal Marigoundan Palayam, during his election campaign for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, in Karur, (PTI)

Rahul Gandhi wraps up Tamil Nadu campaign; attacks AIADMK, BJP

By Divya Chandrababu, Chennai
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:30 PM IST
  • “The chief minister is corrupt so he’s being controlled by the prime minister,” said Gandhi during his roadshow in Karur district.
Close
CEO of Zoho Corporation Sridhar Vembu(Image via Twitter)
CEO of Zoho Corporation Sridhar Vembu(Image via Twitter)

Wrestler Virender Singh, Zoho founder, Bombay Jayashri among Padma Shri awardees

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:25 PM IST
Industrialists conferred with Padma Shri include Rajnikant Devidas Shroff (UPL Ltd); Rajni Bector (Mrs Bector’s Food Company); P Subramanian (Shanthi Gears) and Sridhar Vembu (Zoho).
Close
The man allegedly attacked the girl after she turned down his marriage proposal (Representational Photo)
The man allegedly attacked the girl after she turned down his marriage proposal (Representational Photo)

Man attacks 16-year-old girl with knife, held at Varanasi airport

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:11 PM IST
  • Police arrested the 32-year-od man from the airport while he was waiting to catch a fight for Dubai
Close
FILE - The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2020. A federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump's attempts to ban TikTok, the latest legal defeat for the administration as it tries to wrest the popular app from its Chinese owners. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)(AP)
FILE - The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2020. A federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump's attempts to ban TikTok, the latest legal defeat for the administration as it tries to wrest the popular app from its Chinese owners. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)(AP)

Government says ban on Chinese mobile apps, including Tiktok, would continue

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:09 PM IST
"We are evaluating the notice and will respond to it as appropriate. TikTok was among the first companies to comply with the Government of India directive issued on June 29, 2020," a Tiktok spokesperson said.
Close
File photo of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.(CPS Global)
File photo of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.(CPS Global)

All you need to know about Padma Vibhushan awardee Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:00 PM IST
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has been given Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, for his exceptional contribution in the field of spiritualism.
Close
India's recovery rate has touched 96.59 per cent. In picture: Covid-19 vaccination at a government Hospital in Hyderabad, India.(AP)
India's recovery rate has touched 96.59 per cent. In picture: Covid-19 vaccination at a government Hospital in Hyderabad, India.(AP)

Centre asks states to act against those spreading rumours about Covid vaccines

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 09:51 PM IST
  • Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that states must check the spread rumours, and direct all the concerned authorities to take appropriate measures to counter false information about Covid-19 vaccines.
Close
Colonel Santosh Babu(File Photo)
Colonel Santosh Babu(File Photo)

Maha Vir Chakra for Galwan braveheart Col Santosh Babu, Vir Chakra for 5 others

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 09:41 PM IST
  • The Maha Vir Chara and the Vir Chara are India's second and third highest wartime gallantry award.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP