Acid violence has been reported in India at various locations from time to time that has generated greater public awareness for positive action. Attention has been drawn to the gravity of this offence, due to various reasons, not the least because of judicial pronouncements and media intervention concerning specific cases. Moreover threats of acid throwing have been emanating from different quarters. In a singular case the victim pleaded for euthanasia or mercy killing out of utter despair that led to considerable public outcry; elsewhere assorted groups threatened that they would resort to acid throwing if their whimsical fiats were not complied with. The government for its part has approved suitable measures treating acid violence as a specific offence with exemplary and deterrent punishment to the culprits and for providing some compensation to the victims.Acid assault has a more lasting and devastating psychophysical impact on the victim than other forms of violence. The adage that time is a great healer does not assuage the traumatized woman’s woes who has to encounter shame and suffering for her very existence.
ASFI's road ahead is pretty arduous in view of the size and population of the country, lack of reliable statistics about acid violence and appropriate backup legislation. The immediate objectives are to collect data, identify local partners, set up chapters and associates, generate awareness and raise resources to look after the acid victims. Chapters at Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai have already been made operational and steps are in process to set up chapters and suitable linkages at Chennai and other centres.
Acid violence is predominantly a gender specific crime and ASFI is seized of the larger issues concerned with Human Rights and "UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (CEDAW). Diverse organizations are engaged in the task of safeguarding and promoting the rights and welfare of women doing valuable work. It is felt that collective action by like-minded agencies to generate synergy and strive for the common cause could prove effective. ASFI will work in concert with the government and private entities to this end.
Crime against women in India has been noticeably on the rise over the last few years which is higher than the proportionate increase in population. Of all crimes against women the most brutal and revolting is acid violence. It haunts the victim every moment of her life with disfigurement and social isolation that is impossible to inure. It causes immense pain and constant humiliation, permanent scars, loss of dignity and sense of belonging. The paramount need is for a common strategy, concerted action and a sustained campaign to eradicate the scourge of acid violence altogether.
ASFI's Vision :
- To eradicate acid violence from India through social, educational and regulatory measures;
- To provide care and attention to acid survivors so that they can lead a life of worth, usefulness and dignity;
- To promote an enlightened attitude towards human rights, gender equality, women's awakening and empowerment through various means.
ASFI's Mission :
- To set up a network of chapters and collaborators throughout India to achieve the desired goal;
- To enable survivors of acid violence to access suitable medical facilities and psychosocial care;
- To help in establishing ‘Healing and Recovery’ Centres that provide holistic attention to victims.
- To coordinate and collaborate with disparate agencies engaged in similar work for advocacy of acid related causes including adequate compensation, free or subsidized medical treatment, rehabilitation and exemplary punishment to culprits;
- To work for elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women and to bring about changes conducive to a humane society.
ASFI's Values :
- ASFI believes in service to humanity, more especially to women and the less fortunate;
- ASFI governance is guided by ethical norms, transparency and fair practices applicable to charitable Trusts.