NEW DELHIÂ â In early July, unidentified men threw acid onÂ a 35-year-old woman while she was staying at a government-run women’s hostel in Lucknow, 330 miles southeast of here.
Guards came to her rescue, but the attackers fled.Â The assault onÂ the woman, a gang-rape victim whose first name isÂ Vimla,Â is the latest in a seriesÂ of acid attacksÂ that included two men forcing her to drink acid in March.Â USA TODAY does not use the full names of sexual assault victims to protect their privacy.
India has made international headlines for horrific rape cases in recent years, but acid attacks are common, too, although they receive less attention.
There are 250 to 300 acid attacks reported in India every year, despite laws restricting the sale of acid or other deadly chemicals,Â according to Stop Acid Attacks, a non-profit group.
VimlaÂ “is a mysterious but tragic case of a woman being attacked repeatedly with acid,” saidÂ Asish Shukla of Stop Acid Attacks,Â whichÂ also runs a chain of cafes called “Sheroes Hangout Cafe,”Â managed by acid attack survivors like Vimla.Â
Shukla saidÂ the group hasÂ demanded that India’s Central Bureau of Investigation to examine her case.Â “We are worried why she is attacked again and again over a long period,” Shukla said.
Dibyaloke Rai Chaudhuri, a coordinator at Acid Survivor Foundation India, said Vimla’sÂ attackers targeted her repeatedly so she wouldÂ be frightened intoÂ withdrawingÂ the charges against them.Â So far, she has not.Â
In 2016, India recordedÂ 300 attacksÂ but many go unreported, soÂ theÂ actualÂ number could exceed 1,000, according toÂ Acid Survivors’ Trust InternationalÂ based in the United Kingdom.Â