India Supreme Court demands action on acid attacks

Indian acid attack survivor Sonali Mukherjee at home in Delhi on December 5, 2012 It is estimated that there are as many as 1,000 acid attacks a year in India

The Indian Supreme Court has strongly criticised the government for failing to formulate a policy to reduce acid attacks on women.

The judges said the authorities had failed to regulate the sale of acid used in the assaults, the judges said.

They threatened to pass an order if the government did not prepare a scheme to curb attacks and provide support to victims within the next week.

It is estimated that there are as many as 1,000 acid attacks a year in India.

Acid attacks are a problem throughout South Asia, with cases also reported in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Most of the victims are women and campaigners say women who reject boyfriends, husbands or employers are often targeted by men using easily available and cheap chemicals.

Activists have been calling for tighter restrictions on the sale of acids which are commonly used in attacks.

Earlier this year, India introduced tough new legislation to counter violence against women.

The legislation contains harsher penalties for rapists, including the death penalty, and up to 10 years in jail for acid attacks.

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