Sapna is a 21-year-old woman from a lower-middle class family in the Nand Nagri area of eastern Delhi. Her face is scarred by acid. Last August, her 32-year-old relative hired men to throw it in her face as she returned from her part-time job as a helper at an adhesives factory. The relative was angry because she rejected his marriage proposal.
She was supposed to receive 300,000 rupees (around $4,800) from the Delhi state government to help her with medical bills, according to a directive from India’s Supreme Court. Of this amount, 100,000 rupees or $1,600 was to be given within 15 days of the attack. But it took six months for Sapna to get her due.
Sapna is not the only person to have suffered bureaucratic difficulties and indifference that make it hard to move on from the initial attack, according to anti-acid attack activists.
“I was attacked in front of the policemen. When I asked them to catch those guys, they said don’t worry, it’s just a chemical, it won’t cause much damage,” said Sapna, whose father used to work as a security guard at a hospital.
There have been 225 reported cases of acid attacks on women from 2010 to 2012, according to a response from the National Crime Records Bureau to a Right to Information request filed by this reporter. Thirty-one were reported in the New Delhi region, and activists say the number of actual cases nationwide is much higher than what has been reported.