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article imageAcid attack victims in India say sale restriction law ignored

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 13, 2013 in Crime
Delhi - In February, following a brutal gang rape which made headlines around the world, India introduced a law to restrict the sale of acid. That law is allegedly being widely ignored.
India hit the headlines in late 2012 following the brutal gang rape of a student in New Delhi. A series of other shocking rapes in India also made headline news around the world. This week India has already made headlines for outlawing homosexuality and Thursday Fox News reported that victims of acid attacks in India say a new law restricting acid sales is being ignored.
Fox News cites the case of Sonali Mukherjee, 18. The report is harrowing, as are the images.
Sonali was the victim of cruel bullies in the area she lived. Each time she stepped a foot out the door a gang would harass her. This included making lewd comments about her.
The young woman was no coward, though, and stood up to her tormentors, for which she paid a dreadful price.
She threatened the gang that she would report them to the police leading them to hatch a revengeful plot to shut her up or pay her back. In the dead of night gang members crept into Mukherjee's home, armed with acid. As the unsuspecting teenager slept they poured the burning liquid onto her face.
The result was horrific. Much of the young woman's face simply melted away and the excruciating pain was obviously impossible to ease. She now carries the mental, as well as physical scars, of that attack, which happened more than 10 years ago.
Sonali has joined other acid victims to demand that the Indian authorities act to ensure that the law restricting the sale of acid is upheld.
Following last year's rape case in New Delhi, Indian authorities implemented a raft of changes.
Changes in sentencing for rape and acid attacks include a minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment, and no bail for those who carry out acid attacks. In Indian law, acid attacks were previously illegal under general criminal laws which took no account of the long-term physical disfigurement which follows such attacks.
The majority of victims receive facial or upper body disfigurement, which can include blindness. There are no official figures for the attacks in India. The male attackers historically received such minor sentences many were free in months to pick up their lives, marry and move on. That is not so easy for the victims.
Legal representation in India is costly and victims who are poor often get little if any justice.
Indian private group Stop Acid Attacks is run by volunteers, and Mukherjee helps out. The organizations' website carries more brutal images.
Mukherjees' attackers served three years in jail and then were released.
Sonali Mukherjees continues her life-sentence for standing up to bullies.
More information about vitriol-age or acid attack can be found here.
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