Laxmi’s Story: Life after an Acid Attack

Link to the New York Times: "An Acid Attack Survivor Helps India Change its Law"
Link to the New York Times: “An Acid Attack Survivor Helps India Change its Law”

Hari Kumar writes:

On the morning of April 23, 2005, a seventh-grade student, Laxmi, was waiting for a bus outside the Khan Market shopping complex in central Delhi. She had been hassled for the past few months. A friend’s older brother, Naim Khan, 32, a tailor, had been stalking Laxmi and insisting that she marry him. Laxmi had repeatedly warded him off. As she waited for a bus, Mr. Khan appeared on a motorcycle with a woman. His female companion charged at Laxmi, pushed her onto the road, and poured a bottle of acid on her face. Moments later, the woman and Mr. Khan sped away on the motorcycle…

…The survivors of acid attacks in India live a life of seclusion and invisibility even inside their homes, Laxmi explained. A year after she was attacked, she teamed up with a pro-bono lawyer Aparna Bhat and filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India to seek compensation for the victims of acid attacks, free medical treatment for them, and regulation of acid sales in India, which could be bought over the counter…

Laxmi, 23, found work as a volunteer with an activist group, Stop Acid Attack. She makes 10,000 rupees a month and looks after her mother and younger brother. Her father died. Her struggle is beginning to bear fruit.  In response to her petition the Supreme Court of India passed an order, last week, to stop the open sale of acid and asked state governments to regulate it by asking dealers to register the identification  of buyers and state what they were using it for. Acid cannot be sold over the counter anymore.

“The acid attack victims need to restore their body and their self. They need high-class surgery and counseling,” said Professor Shiv Visvanathan, an eminent sociologist, who teaches at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy in Sonipat, near New Delhi. The Supreme Court of India still needs to decide on compensation and free medical treatment of victims (source linked above).


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