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A city burning with acid

VEHARI, Oct 3: Acid is being sold illegally in the city which has caused acid attacks against women, Dawn has learnt.

This year, the police registered only one case of acid attack. Mumtaz Bibi, of the Luddan area, was disfigured due to an acid attack.

But some non-government organisations say about eight to 10 cases of acid attacks on women occurred every month in the district, which go unreported.

Women’s Centre Chairperson Shamila Aslam told Dawn on Wednesday that a majority of acid attacks went unreported, especially in rural areas of the district. She said the elders of the rural areas avoided reporting such cases to police. She said that some time the police played an important role in pacifying both the victim and the accused after getting bribe from the culprits.

She said that the governments should take measures to stem such incidents. She demanded the police check the illegal sale of acid and arrest shopkeepers selling the weapons to protect women from being disfigured.

An acid dealer seeking anonymity said that he paid a monthly amount to Excise Department officials who were responsible for checking the acid sale and issued licences for acid trade.

Excise Department official Muhammad Husain said the department only issued acid licences to the traders and to check the illegal sale was the responsibility of the district administration.

District Police Officer Malik Tassadaq Hayat said a procedure had been evolved to eliminate the illegal trade of acid.

He said all acid licence-holders had been told to maintain the particulars of the buyers under the Poison Act of 1919.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/4/2007

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