Social Issues July 19, 2013
India To Regulate The Sale Of Acid After Attacks On Women

Indian acid attack survivor Sonali Mukherjee in 2012 (Photo: Getty)

Each year in India there are an estimated 1,000 acid attacks, most of them against women.

The acid used in the attacks, which is often bought from retailers over the counter, has not been regulated by the government in the past.

Now India's Supreme Court has ruled that authorities must regulate the sale of acid that could be used to harm others, The Guardian reports.

Buyers of acid-based products will have to provide a photo identity card in future, and the retailer will then register the name and address of the person buying the product.

The ruling also states that no one under the age of 18 will be allowed to buy the products, and that there should be no bail in acid attack cases.

One of the most common acids used in the attacks is called "Tezaab", a product intended for cleaning rusted tools. It can currently be bought over the counter without ID, but under the new rules, retailers will be required to take the name and information of anyone who purchases it.

The Supreme Court judges also said that every victim of an acid attack must be "rehabilitated and compensated" by their state government.

In an interim ruling, the court stated that each victim is to be paid $5,000 and have all medical costs covered. A final ruling will be made at a later date on the level of compensation.

The Indian government has been criticized for its slow response to the issue of acid attacks.

Earlier this month, the BBC reports, the Supreme Court strongly criticized the government for not formulating a policy to reduce the attacks.

Acid attacks aren't limited to India. As CNN reported in 2010, attacks have occurred in the UK and Hong Kong, but they are most common in South Asian countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Via The Guardian


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