Students Against Acid Attack and Justice for Women are organising a public freeze mob to bring light to the issue of acid attacks. The “freeze” action is being used as a means to represent the exact moment when someone’s life changes forever as a result of being the victim of an acid attack.
The freeze will take place in New Delhi at Connaught Place, Metro Gate No 6 on Friday 11 January at 16:00. Anyone wishing to take part must arrive by 15:30 so the 15 minute freeze (literally, standing still) can begin punctually. The organisers are asking all participants to wear sunglasses and a yellow band tied to left arms as a means of distinguishing who is part of the freeze mob.
The act of throwing acid on someone out of rage, jealousy or revenge is among the most heinous forms of abuse. Tracking official numbers of acid attacks in India is difficult as some cases go unreported. According to a 2011 study by the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School, the Committee on International Human Rights of the New York City Bar Association, the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic, and the Virtue Foundation, there have been upwards of 150 cases reported in India between 2002 and 2010 with the majority of these crimes committed by men against women.
The most common forms of acid used in these attacks are hydrochloric, sulphuric or nitric acid which burn through skin and bone at a rapid rate leaving horrific injuries on victims who then require extensive surgery.
The cheapness and ease with which one can purchase these acids in India facilitates the frequency of these attacks. There is no regulation of the purchase of these acids meaning they can be obtained by anyone from pharmacies, auto repair workshops and markets with no questions asked. Current laws also do not adequately punish perpetrators and therefore do not act as a deterrent.
The organisation Justice for Women in India has a very detailed fact sheet about acid attacks in the country, including list of what to do in the event of an acid attack.
This freeze mob will act as a protest to shine more light on this issue in the hope that it will prompt a rethink of current punishments and regulations. See the dedicated Facebook page for all the details of the event.
Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial