Bustling with people travelling in to and fro from Mumbai for most part of the day, Bandra Terminus on Saturday had an unsual bunch of visitors. They group was not vying to catch a train but stationed itself on platform No.3, which they labelled as a ‘Spot of Shame’.
This was the place where young nursing student Preeti Rathi was attacked by a jealous neighbour in May last year. Delhi resident Preeti succumbed to her injuries a month later.
There were nearly 300 Mumbaikars at Bandra Terminus on Saturday to protest acid attacks on women and push for a social reform programme for victims of such attacks.
‘Spot of Shame’ initiative is the brainchild of a group that is running the Stop Acid Attacks campaign in India. The initiative has been planned over two weeks from January 22 to February 2 and will visit seven cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Lucknow, Chennai, Meerut and Ludhiana – to mark spots that have scene brutal attacks on women in the past.
On an average, 270 women suffer acide attacks every year. Desptie Supreme Court ordering a ban on over-the-counter sale of the dangerous chemical, it is still available in local stores, say activists.
“An acid attack victim is to be given a compensation of Rs three lakh by the state. But the state cannot wash its hands of the responsibility through this. We are chalking out a rehabilitation plan by the way of which we will be pushing for the state to foot all medical expenses of the victim, including ferrying her to hospitals for plastic surgeries, making available prostheses including eyes and so on,” said Alok Dixit, co-ordinator at Stop Acid Attacks campaign.
On Friday, platform No.3 at Bandra Terminus was marked by a black and yellow stamp to officially designate it a ‘Spot of Shame’.
“The day after the stamp is painted at the ‘Spot of Shame’, we hold a brief demonstration and silent protest to explain people about the initiative. The idea is to send the ‘Spot of Shame’ marking viral across all big and small cities and towns of the country over a period of time,” Dixit said.
Spot of Shame initiative aims to provide immediate help to survivors of acid attacks as most of them lose their their zeal to live by the time justice is delivered through courts. The funds for supporting the campaign are being raised through crowd-funding tools.