Acid survivors stopped before Parl

A group of acid attack survivors and volunteers with NGO Stop Acid Attacks were detained by Delhi Police when they tried to stage a protest outside Parliament on Thursday.

They had been observing a relay hunger strike at central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar demanding implementation of Supreme Court’s interim order on regulating the sale of acid at retail outlets in markets across the country.

“About 20 people were taken to Parliament Street police station around 11 am and later released,” said a police officer. The people said they were carrying out a peaceful protest outside Parliament when they were detained.

They also claimed about being injured in lathicharge. Police, however, denied the allegations saying the protesters had reached Parliament’s gate number one without any intimation or taking permission.

Acid attack survivors Laxmi and Rupa alleged that police instead of listening to their voices, beat them up along with other volunteers.

“We were sitting outside the Parliament peacefully, but nobody bothered to listen to us. Police then dragged us and took us to the police station where three of our volunteers were locked up in a room and thrashed with lathis for 10 minutes,” said Laxmi.

“We wanted fast-track courts for speedy justice, free medical check-ups, stringent laws to check easy availability of acid in medical stores and job opportunities. Instead of listening, police harassed and detained us.”

Reacting to charges of police atrocity, a Delhi Police inspector defended police’s action on Stop Acid Attacks Facebook page saying, “This is just pseudo sympathy to get cheap popularity by maligning police. We, the policemen, are very much, rather more, sensitive than you people are towards the victims of the acid attacks. They are our sisters and daughters.”

“Unfortunately, acid is being sold freely in most regions. AIDWA urges the government to fulfil the need for free medical treatment to the survivors,” said AIDWA president Malini Bhattacharya.

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