Tamil Nadu would soon be the first state to regulate sale of acid across the counter in an effort to stop acid attacks against women. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced that the state would pass an ordinance to regulate sale of acid.
The move comes after the death of two women who were targets of acid attack which once again triggered calls for checking easy availability of acid.
21-year-old Vidya was targeted after she refused to elope with the man her family had agreed to give her hand to. The man threw acid on her while she was alone at her workplace in Chennai. Another young woman, Vinothini - an IT professional from Puducherry, also died recently after the man she refused to marry threw acid on her.
Despite the move by the state govt, the families of these victims also want punishment against the attackers. Vidya's mother J Saraswathi told NDTV, "Whatever crime they commit, they should suffer the same, only then they would realise the mistake."
Ms P D'Souza, a govt official, welcomes the move. She told NDTV, "I think sale of acid should be regulated. The purpose of purchase should be checked. The moment they think of buying acid they should remember what would be the aftermath."
Centre's National Crime Records Bureau has no statistics on acid victims. Some estimates suggest there could be at least 100 acid attacks on women every year. Experts say the government should also strive for a change in mindset towards women.
R Geetha, an advisor to Women's Rights Movement, told NDTV, "Today women are looked upon as sex objects. They've to be looked at as individuals."
Ms D'Souza said, "It should start right at our homes; if parents stop discriminating boys and girls and demonstrate respect for women, the mindset of boys would change."