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Delhi: Good Laws, Bad Implementation

Acid attacks are a form of violence against women, where the perpetrator splashes a person or object with acid in order to deface or kill them. It is a senseless crime that has no place in this country.

Himadrish Suwan for BeyondHeadlines

Delhi bears the legacy of Mughal as well as British reign is blatantly termed as the undisputed leader in crime. Certainly there are adequate reasons why the city is looked up as the most unsafe place for women. Delhi has the highest incidence of crimes in India, as recorded by the National Crime Record Bureau’s recently released report studying crime patterns in the country in 2013.

With the growing development of the capital, even crime seems to have increased at a similar rate. The national capital occupies the top slot for almost all violent crimes, including murder, rape, dowry death, acid attack molestation, kidnapping and abduction.

acid-attackAcid attack, especially on women, have seen an alarming growth in India over the last decade. Acid attacks are a form of violence against women, where the perpetrator splashes a person or object with acid in order to deface or kill them. It is a senseless crime that has no place in this country.

Every few days, there are reports of acids being thrown at some girl in some part of this vast country especially in so called capital of crime: Delhi. Recently in Delhi a doctor was injured in an acid attack in Rajouri Garden where two biker’s miscreants hurled acid at a 30 year old woman doctor and robbed her in daylight. The doctor was on her way to the ESI Hospital on her Scooty when two bikers threw a chemical substance at her. Her crime was that she was beautiful and he resented the admiring glances she got.

In India the problem and paralysis is that we have “enough laws” but “zero implementation”. Law without implementation is useless and which certainly leads to adverse effects. Our country is the one where women are given utmost respect. We name India as ‘Bharat Mata’.

But the reality is quite harsh to accept. In the last two years the highest courts in the country have responded to a mass call for more protection for women. The state may make many laws that protect women. However, none of this apex court landmark judgements means unless law is actually implemented.

The Apex Court ruling dated 16 of July 2013 orders to Curb the problem of Acid Attack in the society. The court said anyone will not able to purchase acids like hydrochloric, sulfuric and nitric. These acids, which can burn through flesh, are easily available in general stores for as less as 15-20 rupees per litre. Shops will have to keep details like the quantity sold and the addresses of buyers, who will need to present photo identification to purchase acids. But as usual India is known for “Good laws but Zero Implementation”.

But still the Apex Court order is far away from implementation. It is a fact that, if you go to a general store and ask for a bottle of acid the shopkeeper will provide the customer with a bottle of acid. This bottle of acid is responsible for many losses. Keeping the matter of loss aside acid’s despite apex court ruling they are being sold in general markets and stores like any ordinary fruit or vegetable.

The problem is more worse in South Delhi where in every single general store the bottle of acid is available. Moreover ,the acid bottle are sold to minors as well as adults without any ID proof or any identity of the person. The problem here is very evoking and really disturbs me when an apex court order is being violated at such evident level. I respect the law of the land and any violation of the above hurts me being a citizen of India.

I was quite surprised when for a sting operation I asked for a bottle of acid from different shopkeepers in my locality. They provided me with a bottle of acid without any fear of law. I wrote a letter to Mr.Bhimsen Bassi, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Delhi on 5th of October 2013. But I am still waiting for their reply on the issue of sale of acids in south Delhi.

Our country is developing at a fast pace, but basic issues are still not taken care of. The irony is that in India women have been President and Prime Minister’s but in the other sphere women are being target of constant senseless crimes. I hope the state government takes a lead in waking up to this increasingly prevalent crime against women and take urgent measures to ensure not only the curbing of such crimes but also provide the necessary investigative aid by entrusting the CBI with the responsibility to intervene effectively and on time.

It is important to note that the sale of acid in any form has not been brought under regulation despite the Supreme Court’s order asking state governments to take concrete action in this regard. In fact, the state government or the corporation should start a weekly “anti acid” drive in every constituency of Delhi and check out the ground reality.

[The author is a columnist and citizen journalist, and Youngest Awardee of the I.A.E.W.P (Affiliated to United Nations ECOSOC ,UNICEF, DPI) Global Award for Media & Information Activism 2014]


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