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Akhilesh assures help to acid attack victims’ cafe in Agra

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Agra: UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday visited the Sheroes Hang-Out, a cafe near the Taj Mahal run by acid attack victims, and assured all help to them to run the establishment.

He met acid attack victims Neetu, Geeta, Ritu and others, had coffee with them and directed District Magistrate Pankaj Kumar to look for land to help them to open a bigger and better cafe.

acid attacks-kvJH--621x414@LiveMint
www.livemint.com – (From left) Neetu, Ritu and Rupa

The Sheroes Hang-Out has attracted international notice, as the victims, instead of surrendering to depression or seclusion, and initial hesitation to move out openly, are now working in the cafe and serving foreign tourists.

A library and boutique are additional attractions for tourists.

www.prokerala.com
www.prokerala.com

The cafe was started with donations through a Facebook page, and today it has managed to not only survive but provide sustenance to many victims.

The chief minister said he would help open similar cafes in Lucknow and Noida.

(IANS)

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Kolkata Woman throws acid on a man from her shop, 4 Pedestrians injured

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Sulphur Dioxide, Wikimedia

Kolkata, April 16, 2017: A woman was arrested for allegedly throwing acid from her shop injuring at least four pedestrians, including a civic volunteer, in Kolkata on Sunday, police said.

Manika Naskar (35), a shopkeeper, was arrested for allegedly attacking a person with acid during an altercation over money in Salt Lake’s Nayapatty area. Some pedestrians present at the spot were also injured in the attack, an officer from Electronic Complex police station said.

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According to police, Naskar had some financial dispute with a local person. During an altercation on Sunday afternoon, she hurled acid aiming at him. The acid also spilled on some pedestrians, including a civic volunteer, who were present at the spot.

The victims suffered minor burn injuries in the attack and were released after administering primary first aid, the officer said.

Naskar was arrested and slapped with charges of acid throwing (IPC 326A) and criminal intimidation (IPC 506). The acid stored in her shop has been seized, police said.

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Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Kolkata Police ran a joint raid with the state police personnel to seize nearly 90 kg of illegally stored sulphuric acid from Bardhaman district’s Katwa on Saturday, a senior CID official said on Sunday.

We have seized a huge amount of illegally stored acid from Burdwan and Katwa. We are investigating how the culprits managed to store so much acid without proper documents, the officer added. (IANS)

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No longer called acid victims- ‘Living with honor by Sheroes Cafe’

Sheroes Hangout is the country's first cafe chain managed and run by acid attack survivors

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March 07, 2017: It is often remarked that it is the face and not the woman is the attraction – perhaps this may be true for many but for some it is a woeful affliction. An Acid attack not only annihilates victim’s face but also annihilates the victim’s aspirations as well. The thought like of never been able to face the mirror frightens the soul of the victim. Think about it for a moment – ‘It is an impeccable life for you until the tragic day comes and one splash of corrosive acid on a spotless face crashes your world upside down’, Heart throbbing it will be to even empathize with these women.

This report contains excerpts from the interview conducted by a reporter Naina Mishra of NewsGram with the team of ‘Sheroes’, a cafe chain run by the acid attack survivors.

A Study on Acid Attack

According to Acid Survivors Trust International (AFSI) report, Acid attack is rampant in many parts of the world. Acid Survivors Trust International estimated that 1500 acid attack takes place annually worldwide. In context to India, there are between 100-150 acid attack yearly, as reported by Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI). Furthermore, Northern region of India has the highest incidence of acid violence accounting for 58% of the attacks while Eastern region with 18%, Western Region with 16% and Southern Region with 8% follow suit. Among the states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh is leading in terms of ill reputation with 234 attacks followed by 104 attacks in Delhi UT and 38 in Punjab (2010 -2014).

Sheroes Hangout – An Epitome of true warrior

Team of sheroes hangout, Acid attack survivors

Sheroes hangout is a café situated in Agra which is run by five acid attack survivors. Sheroes is a perfect example for women who struggled with fortitude in face of brutality. ‘Sheroes’ title was coined with the thought of amalgamating ‘she and heroes’.The café was started with ‘Stop acid attack campaign’ launched on 08 March 2013 (also celebrated as International Women’s Day).

Instead of being victimized these survivors chose to live a life of the valiant woman. They are no longer sitting and hiding their faces in a corner, but have stepped their way out to earn a respectable living for themselves.  Sheroes Hangout is also the country’s first cafe chain managed and run by acid attack survivors. The NGO was first started in Delhi. Neetu and Geeta (mother and daughter), acid attack survivors were in search of work but couldn’t go to Delhi due to disinclination, Hence it was collectively thought to start sheroes café as means of employment for these fighters. The team of Sheroes café works for the prosperity of these survivors by aiding them financially or by giving them medical assistance.

“I have evolved stronger with time and I see myself much happier now. I can now walk with head held high without the fear of being judged. I don’t care what people think about me unless I am working for myself.” told Roopa, an acid attack survivor at sheroes café to Newsgram.

Roopa, a 24-year-old girl, and an acid attack survivor have paved her path from a survivor to a fighter rigorously. She did not step out of her home from 5 years since the attack, until one auspicious day which showered blessing in her life yet again. She then met with the team of ‘stop acid attack’ campaign and joined the campaign in 2013. Roopa has been a part of the Sheroes since then. Roopa now feels confident about herself and she no longer has to cover her face out of humiliation. Roopa used to profane her ill-fated life by considering herself the only girl afflicted by the trauma. Later when she joined the campaign, she realized that her pain is minuscule in front of these survivors. Some of them have lost the hearing sense while some cannot see. Pain allows people to grow and what you become out of it is completely your choice. However, sheroes women had already decided their fate themselves. They knew what they were doing and succeeded.
“At first I used to think that I was the only one but when I came here I met 8 survivors. Some were not able to see from one eye, some could not speak. It has been 8 years and we are each other’s support.” Roopa further added.

An era of change

The acid attack victims are no longer seen as petrified and victimized. This indeed is an era of revolution where a woman’s voice can not be locked by these violators anymore. We see these women more fierce and brave. Those who tried to harm the existence of women forgot the very fact about the inception of a person’s life, which is also produced by none other than a woman itself. It is certain that nothing can halt the invincible ardor of a woman. Just like these survivors did to rebuild themselves from the misery.

reporting by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter @Nainamishr94 

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This is how acid attack victims clung with New media full-throatedly

Despite the negative notions the new media has received, it has served vociferously a soapbox for acid attack victims

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Where there is a will, there is way - This is how acid attack victims make use of social media, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Feb 26, 2017: Over a long period of time, Social media as the new media has been criticized for disintegrating people to connect with reality. Despite the negative notions the new media has received, it has served vociferously a soapbox for acid attack victims. An acid attack is no longer uncanny for Indians, a purchased bottle of acid and feeling of vengeance is all that it takes to tear down victims’ life. However, These victims are no longer petrified and considered as victims, rather we see them as indomitable and fighting with fortitude with the help of a social connect.

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“Donate a face”, a campaign against acid attacks executed by Cheil India, was an initiative started a few years ago and strived to change the perception of acid attacks in minds of people. It was a campaign which talked about the heart-rending recovery of victims, and psychological imbalance the victim has to go through. The face is an important part of oneself – an irrevocable wounded face stains the identity of a victim. It thus targeted the then prevalent selfie craze and drove an urge to take faceless selfies among people. The campaign propelled people to take faceless selfies and upload it on Facebook and twitter profiles, this thusly spurred popularity through the help of social media and generated funds in abundance.

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In an attempt to the same, a photo shoot by Rahul Saharan for Rupa Designs takes on acid attack models. The photo shoot attempted to redefine notions of beauty. By conforming to its truest sense, a beauty should be idealized with flaws and reality. Another new media campaign adhered to boycott the sale of acid, petitioning the former Union Home Minister (Sushil Kumar Shine) with the help of change.org, a petition website portal. The petition was initiated by Lakshmi, an acid attack survivor and came out to be successful with government curbing down the sale of jeopardizing acid. This turned out into a confirmed victory with over 29,000 online supporters.

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In the era of brutality, nothing seemed to wither these women’s invulnerable spirit. When nobody pays heed to your woes, it is the new media which helped these victims voice out and evolve stronger since the day of the committed heinous crime. Whether it is a campaign, a photo shoot or an online petition, the new media speaks volume when it comes to hearing these victims. Needless to say, new media is boon and serves as a stepping stone to these victims. There is a lot to absorb from these survivors who fought valiantly in the face of crime.

-prepared by Naina Mishra of NewsGram. Twitter-@Nainamishr94