Time-bound justice, right to education and best medical treatment, these are some of the poll demands of acid attack survivors who have started a countrywide campaign called ‘Jago Chunav Hai’ to spread awareness. Through the campaign, they are highlighting their expectations from candidates and also asking fellow survivors to vote consciously.
The campaign has been started by ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ — a movement for acid attack survivors in the country which works to rehabilitate them. Ashish Shukla, founder of ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ said that the campaign has been started to give acid attack survivors knowhow of their rights and points to be kept in mind before voting. “We are highlighting issues being faced by acid attack survivors and demands which candidates must try to meet,” he said.
Shabnam, a survivor, has demanded that the government should provide them quota in educational institutions and a right to free education.
Ritu Saini, another survivor from Haryana, has demanded that all cases should be heard in fast track courts and there should be a time-bound justice mechanism for acid attack cases.
“The law ministry should acknowledge all pending cases and they should be heard immediately in fast track courts. Currently, the judicial system is too slow and it takes years for cases to wrap up,” she added.
Another survivor, Kavita has demanded that there should be lifetime medical allowance and insurance facility for acid attack survivors in India.
Anshu Rajput said that she was attacked with acid in 2014, but her case is still going on in court. “Our vote is our power. It has been five years since a man threw acid on me but a decision is awaited. We want time-bound justice mechanism because after an attack, the bigger ordeal is to go through the legal process. We will vote only for those candidates who will promise to take up our issues.”
‘Stop Acid Attacks’ founder said, “Instead of giving Rs 3 lakh compensation which too is released after much ado, the government should promise best treatment and constructive surgeries for the survivors free of cost, as these procedures are often unaffordable. After treatment, the survivors should be rehabilitated and given jobs so that they can earn and live a dignified life.”
“Another major problem faced by survivors are the comments passed about them when they move outside their homes. We need some law or punishment for those who pass remarks on the looks of survivors. It shatters their confidence when they hear such discouraging words,” he added.
At least a hundred acid attack survivors across the country are associated with ‘Stop Acid Attacks’, which is also running two cafes — Sheroes Hangout — in Agra and Lucknow, providing employment to survivors.