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Acid Attack Survivors: Disability in RPWD Act 2016

acid attack survivors in India
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | September 16, 2019 (Last update: September 16, 2019)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

Acid Attack Survivors are the people (mostly women) who became the victim of the crime of acid throwing. India is among the countries where the highest number of acid attacks happen.These incidents often leave the victim with disfigured face and other body parts. Recently, the Indian government has included Acid Attack Survivors in the list of recognized disabilities under RPWD Act 2016.

Acid Attacks are most common in South Asia — Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The highest number of acid attacks have been reported in Bangladesh (3,512 between 1990 and 2013). United Kingdom registered the highest per capita number of acid attacks.

According to 2016 annual report of National Crimes Record Beauro (NCRB), India recorded 283 incidents of acid attacks. These incidents affected 307 survivors. Of these, among the states, West Bengal topped the list with 76 incidents and 60 survivors.

acid attack survivors in India

According to RPWD Act 2016, an acid attack victim means a person disfigured due to violent assaults by throwing of acid or similar corrosive substance.

RPWD Act 2016, allows 4% reservation for persons with disabilities in government jobs. For the job quota purpose, acid attack survivors are clubbed under the locomotor disability category which gets 1% reservation.

The 4% disabled job quota is divided as below:

  • 1% for people affected with blindness and low vision;
  • 1% for people affected with deafness and hard of hearing;
  • 1% for locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy.
  • 1% for people affected with autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness, it said.

Injuries in Acid Attacks

Following is a partial list of bodily injuries often caused by acid attacks:

  1. The skull is partly destroyed/deformed and hair lost.
  2. Ear cartilage is usually partly or totally destroyed; deafness may occur.
  3. Eyelids may be burned off or deformed, leaving the eyes extremely dry and prone to blindness. Acid directly in the eye also damages sight, sometimes causing blindness in both eyes.
  4. The nose can become shrunken and deformed; the nostrils may close off completely due to destroyed cartilage.
  5. The mouth becomes shrunken and narrow, and it may lose its full range of motion. Sometimes, the lips may be partly or totally destroyed, exposing the teeth. Eating and speaking can become difficult.
  6. Scars can run down from the chin to neck area, shrinking the chin and extremely limiting range of motion in the neck.
  7. Inhalation of acid vapors usually creates respiratory problems, exacerbated restricted airway pathways (the esophagus and nostrils) in acid attack survivors.


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