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Acid attack on Indian woman filmed in busy market

NEW DELHI: Shocking video footage on Tuesday showed two men throwing acid on a woman in a busy market area in New Delhi, the latest in a series of attacks on women in India.

The incident took place in west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden market early Tuesday after the 30-year-old victim left home on a scooter to go to a nearby hospital where she works as a doctor, the Press Trust of India reported.

The grainy CCTV footage shows two men on a motorcycle with their faces covered by their hoodies pulling up next to the victim, whose face was also wrapped with a scarf, and attacking her with acid.

The woman reportedly screamed for help, but passers-by walked and cycled past.

The highly corrosive chemical singed half of her face, NDTV news channel’s website said, adding that police were analysing the footage to identify the suspects.

Acid attacks have long plagued India, often targeting women in public places as a form of revenge linked to dowry or land disputes or a man’s advances spurned.

But Tuesday’s incident surprised the victim, who told police that she did not know the men or suspect anyone, according to NDTV.

Attacks on women have been on the rise with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reporting 309,546 crimes against women last year against 244,270 in 2012.

There were 225 reported cases of acid attacks alone between 2010 and 2012, according to the bureau.

Those who survive acid attacks often face lifelong scars and social stigma. Activists say little has changed despite steps taken last year to help wipe out the scourge and improve financial aid for survivors.

The Supreme Court in July last year gave Indian states three months to enforce restrictions on the sale of acid, but campaigners say it remains easy to purchase and inexpensive.

The court also said victims should get 300,000 rupees in compensation, a third of it within 15 days of the assault.

Acid attacks in India were also made a specific criminal offence punishable with at least a decade behind bars following the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012, which sparked nationwide protests. -AFP

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