Acid throwing, also called an acid attack, a vitriol attack or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault defined as the act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another “with the intention to disfigure, maim, torture, or kill”.

Perpetrators of these attacks throw corrosive liquids at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones.

A Story of Acid Attack : Photoshoot Images Getting Viral

Photography & Retouch – Sunando Chowdhury
Concept – Sunando Chowdhury, Bishal Dutta & Sayan Mahanta
Make up – Shilpi, Adrish, Bishal
Face – Shilpi, Adrish, Somnath , Bishal, Sayan

The most common types of acid used in these attacks are sulfuric and nitric acid. Hydrochloric acid is sometimes used, but is much less damaging. Aqueous solutions of strongly alkaline materials, such as caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), are used as well, particularly in areas where strong acids are controlled substances.

The long term consequences of these attacks may include blindness, as well as eye burns, with severe permanent scarring of the face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychological, and economic difficulties.

Today, acid attacks are reported in many parts of the world, though more commonly in developing countries.

The intention of the attacker is often to humiliate rather than to kill the victim. In Britain such attacks, particularly those against men, are believed to be underreported, and as a result many of them do not show up in official statistics.

Some of the most common motivations of perpetrators include:

Personal conflict regarding intimate relationships, and sexual rejection.
Racial motivations.
Sexual related jealousy and lust.
Social, political and religious motivations.
Gang violence and rivalry.
Attacks against minorities.
Conflicts over land ownership, farm animals, housing and property.
Revenge for refusal of sexual advances, proposals of marriage and demands for dowry.

Acid attacks often occur as revenge against a woman who rejects a proposal of marriage or a sexual advance. Gender inequality and women’s position in the society, in relation to men, plays a significant role in these types of attacks.

Acid attacks in India, like Bangladesh, have a gendered aspect to them: analyses of news reports revealed at least 72% of reported attacks included at least one female victim.

However, unlike Bangladesh, India’s incidence rate of chemical assault has been increasing in the past decade, with a high 27 reported cases in 2010. Altogether, from January 2002 to October 2010, 153 cases of acid assault were reported in Indian print media while 174 judicial cases were reported for the year of 2000.

The motivation behind acid attacks in India mirrors those in Bangladesh: a study of Indian news reports from January 2002 to October 2010 uncovered that victims’ rejected sex or marriage proposals motivated attacks in 35% of the 110 news stories providing a motive for the attack. Notable cases of acid attacks are Sonali Mukherjee’s case of 2003 and Laxmi Agarwal in 2005.

Police in India are also known to use acid on individuals, particularly on their eyes, causing blindness to the victims. A well known such case is the Bhagalpur blindings, where police blinded 31 individuals under trial (or convicted criminals, according to some versions) by pouring acid into their eyes.

The incident was widely discussed, debated and acutely criticized by several human rights organizations. The Bhagalpur blinding case had made criminal jurisprudence history by becoming the first in which the Indian Supreme Court ordered compensation for violation of basic human rights.