In a sheer violation of Supreme Court guidelines on the sale and purchase of acid, the illegal trade of the corrosive liquid continues in many parts of National Capital Territory (NCT).
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 23 people suffered acid attacks in Delhi in 2016. At many parts of the national capital, acid can be purchased easily.
A street vendor has been found selling acid in the streets of Baljeet Nagar in Patel Nagar area. Local people said the vendor comes here daily to sell acid as toilet cleaner.
When asked about the hardness of the acid, the vendor replied, “Bhaiya it’s very strong you can see the steam is coming. It will clean your toilet properly”.
The vendor further said that he bring acid from the outskirts of the city.
“We bring acid from factories at Sultanpuri area near Nangloi and sale it different parts of the city,” the vendor added. An acid attack survivor, Anu Mukherjee said, “Authorities have failed in banning the sale of acid in capital city. Once, I found a shopkeeper selling acid in a Delhi market without any license. I asked him why he is selling acid as it is restricted by the apex court and showed him my eyes, damaged due to the acid attack. But he did not show any concern on that too.”
When contacted to Patel Nagar SDM Jatin Goyal, he said, “We have conducted inspection in past and sealed some premises selling acid illegally. After receiving a complaint in this regard we will take necessary steps to curb the sale of coercive liquid.”
Notably, the Supreme Court in 2013 put restriction on the sale of acids in the country. The apex court guidelines made it mandatory for shopkeepers to acquire licence for selling acids. The shop keepers have to ask the reason behind the purchase from buyer before selling it and to keep the track of buyers. Seller needs to keep the address proof of the buyer in-order to nab the offender if any crime occurred. Seller also has to make sure that the buyer is not a minor.
As per the guidelines, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) is the nodal officer to look after the illegal trade of acid.
Activists said that there is no inspection or regular check on the sale of acid. “Unless the sellers are booked and heavy fines or sentences handed out, no one will follow the laid down guidelines,” said Mukul Verma, Director, Acid Survivors Foundation India.