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Acid attack survivors hope SRK's support will lend greater focus to their campaign

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's decision to launch a foundation that will work for the welfare of acid attack survivors in India has been welcomed by NGOs working for the cause.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's Father's Day Special announcement on social media has been welcomed by NGOs working to support survivors of acid attacks. Despite the Supreme Court ordering states to enforce the ban on sales of chemicals, the epidemic of acid attacks in India continues.

SRK's move to launch a foundation named after his late father, activists hope, will bring a stronger spotlight to the cause.

I think it's great that a popular actor has taken up this important cause. It will definitely create a lot of awareness about acid attacks and the harm it causes to the lives of people. More people may now be motivated to raise their voice against acid attacks and sale of corrosive substances. - Manzar Aman, Founder, Salma Foundation for Acid Attack Survivors

This was the announcement on social media by SRK: "A foundation I named after my father - @MeerFoundation - aims to create a network of support for women. No better day than #FathersDay for me to introduce our website to the world".

SRK's father Meer Taj Mohammed Khan, a freedom fighter in Peshawar, Pakistan, moved to India after Partition. The star has often spoken movingly about his father's influence on his life. Meer Foundation aims to offer support to women who have suffered acid attacks.

The website of the foundation has a note written by SRK that reads, "In my life, I have been given several opportunities to flourish by the people around me. And this is exactly what I want to do for others - especially women. My dream is to create an ecosystem that allows women, regardless of their history, to redefine, redo, or rework their lives the way they choose, the way they see fit. This might seem idealistic, but I truly believe that we can empower women to dream, grow, and live life without worry".

Since the 90s, India has been reporting among the highest acid attacks in the world but it is only in 2016 that survivors were recognised in the disabled category as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD Act 2016). In most cases, the targets are women, who are grievously injured by jilted lovers or as a means of taking revenge.

Apart from rehabilitation, there is a need for tougher action. Despite strict laws against the sale of acids and similar corrosive substances, the number of acid attacks are on a rise in the country.

Acids or corrosive chemicals are very often thrown at the face resulting in the skin burning, damage to skin tissue, and even dissolving of bones in some severe attacks. Severe acid burns result in death or impairments and have a huge impact on the life of the affected person.

Post attack medical care, emotional support, counselling, rehabilitation are much needed to help the survivors lead their lives with dignity.

GET IN TOUCH:Contact Meer Foundation at http://meerfoundation.org

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