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How loopholes in government’s policies are failing the acid attack survivors

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By Purnima Pahuja

Geeta was only 22-year-old when a miscreant threw acid on her face after she objected to his sexual advances.

“After such an incident had happened in my life, no one came forward to help me or support me except my mother. I know that nobody has a perfect life, but after whatever happened with me was not the life I ever wanted. I was discarded by the society. And now I want to scream to the world and say that yes, even I can live a normal life like you and even I stand the same in the society as you,” says the acid attack survivor Geeta Lodhi, who is now 37-year-old and works with an organization called Stop Acid Attack which helps acid attack survivors live a dignified life.

Geeta’s story echoes the tale of the many acid attack victims, who face partiality in the society and struggle to pay for their medical support.

Due to the lack of government aid, most acid attack victims find it difficult to pay for the medical assistance which involves plastic surgeries, says Geeta.

Recently, the Central government had announced about the free medical treatment and compensation of Rs 3, 00,000 to the survivors, but this policy has technical flaws.

Though the government has decided to provide the aid, it has not designated any specific body to look after the issue. The survivors do not know where to go and ask for relief.

“In April 2013, the amendments made by the J.S Verma Committee made acid attacks an offense, stating both medical attention and compensation must be given to victims, but it did not specify the type of treatment or the amount of funds to be given,” says Ashish Shukla, an active member of the campaign group Stop Acid Attacks.

According to a Home Ministry report, there were 309 acid attack cases reported in 2014 compared to 66 cases in the previous year.

The rise in number of cases highlights two key points. First there are no strict laws in the country to deal with acid attackers, and second, there are no regulations to deal with the sale of chemicals.

“Acids are being used as weapons, and there is a need of a separate law to deal with the sale and purchase of chemicals which include neat hydrochloric and sulfuric acids also,” said an active member of the campaign group.

 

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No proposal to scrap Article 370: Centre

The Central government has no proposal to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir

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The Central government has no proposal to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution: Hansraj Gangaram Ahir

The Central government has no proposal to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said on Tuesday.

Responding to a written question in the Lok Sabha, Ahir said: “There is currently no such proposal under consideration of the government.”

Any new law initiated by the government should be in accordance with the constitution. Wikimedia Commons
No plan to scrap article 370. Wikimedia Commons

The article, added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and empowers its legislature to frame any law without attracting a legal challenge.

Also Read: Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on plea challenging polygamy, nikah halala

The provision prohibits all Indians — except people from Jammu and Kashmir — from purchasing immovable property in the state, getting government jobs and availing state-sponsored scholarship schemes. IANS

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