Bhubaneswar: The Acid Survivors & Women Welfare Foundation (ASWWF) organized Symposium on “Eradication of Acid Violence” at Bhubaneswar. The program was attended by Ms.Sulochana Das, Chairperson, State Commission for Person with Disabilities and Ms.Minati Behera, Chairperson, State Commission for Women. ASWWF has been providing support to survivors of acid attack through a network of chapters in India and has impacted their lives positively to ensure that they can reintegrate into mainstream society. The Foundation has already identified many survivors in Odisha, and is working for their welfare and upliftment.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rahul Verma, CEO and Vice-Chairman said that “Acid violence is one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. Besides the various measures adopted for supporting the cause of survivors, there are plans to set up a psycho-social burn cum rehabilitation centre that will provide holistic care to survivors. The Foundation is co-ordinating and collaborating with various NGO’s and organisations engaged in similar work for the advocacy of acid related causes; including adequate compensation, free or subsidised medical treatment, rehabilitation and exemplary punishment to culprits.”
ASWWF has identified over 500 acid attack survivors in the country. As per latest government (NCRB) data, the northern region has the highest incidence of acid violence accounting for nearly 44% of the attacks while eastern Region with 27 %, western region with 16 % and southern region with 13 % follow suit. According to T. N. Panda, Resident Representative of ASWWF’s Odisha Chapter, the State has recorded a total of 70 cases during the period 2011 – 2019.
Mrs. Namrata Chadha said that the Foundation has been reaching out to survivors from all over the country to help them in their treatment, facilitating their compensation from the government as well as raising funds for their rehabilitation. It adopts a four pronged approach to support the victims. At the first stage, they provide care and support to the identified victims followed by community based programmes on prevention of such attacks by collaborating with NGO’s and supporting service government organisations to spread awareness.
Mrs. Nalini Sarma, Advisor, said that the foundation is taking steps for educating the community, building support structures amongst the key stakeholders, developing programs to strengthen social networks, organizing community groups to challenge social norms that contribute to such attacks on women. These activities are expected to transform the social norms that are the root causes of these heinous activities.
The meeting was attended by Ms. Linkan Subudhi, Mr. Arun Verma, Ms. Renu Narula, Ms. Sudha Sundarajan and four Acid attack victims too.