As part of human values celebrations, Amity Institute of Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Management (AICISM) organized an interactive session on “Acid attacks on women”with Ms Salina Wilson- Human Rights Activist and Researcher at University Campus,Sector- 125, Noida.
Ms. Wilson currently works with Action Aid India and has previously worked with the Human Rights Law Network asa coordinator with the Women's Justice Initiative.
During the session, Ms.Sapna- an acid attack victim narrated the heinous incident when she was attacked by her own relative and her ensuing miseries that catapulted her life.
Com Rajan Bhandari- Head of the Institution, AICISM welcomed Ms. Wilson.
Conducting the session, Ms. Salina thanked Amity forproviding her an opportunity to share her views on the burning topic of “Acid Attack”. Addressing the gathering, she said that the heinous crime of acid attack on women has its roots in Patriarchal set up of Indian society where women are not expected to exercise sexual autonomy; where men expect women to be meek and docile, not challenging the authority of men, as a result of which a man reacts with violence whenever he hears “No” from a woman in cases such as refusal of marriage, denial of sexual approaches by men and other related instances. Woman, she remarked, whenever tries to exercise her rights there is a backlash from society.
Sharing her views further, Ms. Salina said that in most of the cases of Acid attack, the target is a woman’s face since it is part of her identity and the culprit tries to damage the identity of the victim by flinging Acid on her face. As per the law, an acid attack victim is supposed to get free treatment at every hospital but in most of the cases, such victims have to shuttle from one place to another due to inexperienced doctors or ill equipped hospitals. She called upon the State Governments to ensure that hospitals are well equipped to deal with acid attack victims.
Ms. Salina appraised the gathering that in India, there is no separate Law enacted to deal with Acid Attacks incidents and stated that there are just few sections of CrPC dealing with such vicious form of crime. She compared the legal system of India with Bangladesh where “Acid Crime Contro lAct (2002) and Acid Crime Prevention Act (2002) has led to 15-20% of decrease in acid attacks every year since 2002. If the victim is blinded or disfigured during the attack, the law of the country has a provision to award death penalty to the perpetrator.
Talking about death penalty, the erudite speaker opined that death penalty is not a solution to the growing menace of acid attacks; it’s a mere retributive measure which will not help. The perpetrators need to be counseled and sensitized through various workshops and seminars. She called fora change in mentality of the people especially men who need to be taught to respect women right from their formative years.
Sapna- the Acid Attack victim narrated how she was attacked with acid by her own relative in August 2013 in the middle of a busy road and how her pleas to help fell on deaf ears, while her skin was melting. She shared that her family stood with her decision to file the case and bring the culprit to the bars while her grandparents and relatives stopped talking to the family and snapped all ties with them for filing the case. Today, Sapna has received compensation from the State and is undergoing series of plastic surgeries.
Com Rajan Bhandari-Head of the Institution, AICISM called upon the gathering, comprising of inquisitive students from various Institutions of Amity, to go beyond sympathies and empathies for the Acid victims and respect women. The need of the hour, he stressed, is engineering mutual respect between men and women and not just paying lip service to the cause. He thanked Ms. Salina for sharing important insights about Acid attack incidents and their victims with the students of Amity and appreciated Sapna for her courage and determination.