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Nature of acid attacks

Acid throwing, also called an acid attack or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault defined as the premediated act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another "with the intention to disfigure ,maim, torture or kill." The most common types of acids used in these attacks are sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid. 

Even with prompt medical attention,the long term consequences of these attacks may include blindness, as well as permanent scarring of the face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychologicaL and economic difficulties .

Acid violence is a global phenomenon but occurs significantly amongst the people from lesser income group.

It is not related to race, religion, creed, or location. It has occurred in South Asia, Laos, China, Japan,  Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico,  Jamaica, Guyana, Algeria, Uganda,  Afghanistan, Iran, Greece, Turkey, USA, Australia and the UK, Cambodia .Countries with high number of attacks often possess a set of common characteristics . These include a weak judiciary and policing systems, poverty and gender discrimination.

In India too the cases are not insignificant though earlier comparable statistics is not available, since the offence used to be clubbed with assault and grievous hurt and many cases go unreported as well.

Acid attacks are a form of violence primarily directed against women, where the perpetrator splashes a person with acid in order to deface or kill the person. 80% of the victims account to be females. Although acid throwing is a form of violence known to have been committed throughout history, there is a steep rise in the number of cases documented in recent years. Some of this increase has been attributed to better documentation, as also to the fact that the victims of such attacks have begun to report the attack more often. 

 In 2013, India introduced amendment to theIndian Penal Code through the Criminal Law Ammendment Act (2013), making acid attacks a specific offence with a punishment of imprisonment not less than 10 years and which can extend to life imprisonment and with fine . India's top court has ruled that authorities must regulate the sale of acid. The judges said the buyer of such acids should in future have to provide a photo identity card to any retailer when they make a purchase. The retailers must register the name and address of the buyer.


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