Vol. 4 Num 192 Tue. December 09, 2003  
Front Page

Acid attacks may be tried in speedy tribunals

The government will consider dealing with acid attacks under the Speedy Trial Tribunal for quick disposal of the cases, said Law Minister Moudud Ahmed yesterday.

The minister's statement came as the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) revealed data on 383 acid victims, including 244 women and 25 children, in a string of incidents from January 1 to December 3 this year.

Speaking at a discussion on " Living with Acids" organised by the ASF at BRAC Centre, Moudud said a central monitoring cell of the home and law ministries would be tasked with monitoring the pending cases of acid violence.

The minister underscored collective efforts to build broad consciousness and effective roles of law enforcers as crucial to rolling back the incidence of acid violence.

Some women among the acid survivors attended the discussion and told their stories of how they became victims and struggled to get back to normal life through tribulations.

Rupali Akhter of Manikganj was attacked with acid by her husband and in-laws for Tk 50,000 in dowry, but the attackers are still at large.

Reba Yasmin, another acid survivor, came under attack for ditching a marriage proposition by a young man in a case still to be disposed of by court.

The ASF data show 114 men were among the acid victims in 312 incidents in January 1 to December 3. Abdul Quadir, as the representative of male acid victims, also told his harrowing story of near-death experience and relentless struggle for survival.

Attorney General AF Hassan Ariff, attending the afternoon session of the discussion as chief guest, viewed the legal system as the last instrument to help the victims but said it was not enough. "A social movement is needed to combat such crimes," he said.

Ferdous Ara Begum, joint secretary of women and children affairs, emphasised that a social movement was a must to build anti-acid violence awareness.

Salma Khan, member of the Committee for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, said a social change in attitude towards women is needed to stave off acid throwing.

Advocate UM Habibunnessa, member of Naripakkho, described acid as a potent weapon and put an underscore on a strong role of media.