“Acid attack victims only.” This disclaimer is part of an advertisement published by Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) inviting all such survivors in the city for jobs. This is the first time that such jobs opportunities have been created and applications have been invited from acid attack survivors.
The authority is offering 12 clerical positions with salaries from Rs 19,900 to Rs 63,200, according to the Seventh
Pay Commission. However, it points out, “The recruitment against these posts is restricted to acid attack victims relating to such offences committed within the NCT of Delhi”. Published on May 20, the advertisement says that candidates between the age of 18 and 40 can apply within 30 days from the date of notice.
DSLSA acted on a letter written by the Delhi government’s department of women and child development that asked if acid attack survivors could be given jobs by relaxing rules for better participation. “These vacancies for lower divisional clerks are created for rehabilitation of acid attack victims and for their empowerment, with the approval of our executive chairperson and the chief justice, who is the patron in chief of DSLSA,” member secretary of the legal services authority Sanjeev Jain told TOI.
Those survivors who have passed Class XII or equivalent exams are being preferred. However, candidates with a certificate of Class X or equivalent can also apply on the condition that they would complete Class XII within five years of their service.
Chandrahas Mishra, a commerce postgraduate, had to drop out of his MBA course in 2011 when he was attacked with acid for stopping his landlord’s son from misbehaving with a woman. As part of Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI), he now helps survivors in getting compensation and other assistance. Mishra has been coordinating with 30-40 survivors, demanding a more dignified approach towards them from all governments. “Many acid attacks survivors are qualified professionals and graduates, and they are studying or working abroad. Why can’t such opportunities be created here? It is a good initiative by the Delhi government and now is the time for implementation,” he said.
ASFI director Mukul Verma, who has been working with Mishra, says job creation is a “very noble idea”. “Earlier, they was no reservation for them. While medical treatment is essential, rehabilitation is most important. It’s a great initiative. The Delhi government, perhaps, is the first government to offer jobs to them,” he said.
While 255 cases of acid attack were registered in 2014, it went up to 268 in 2015, according to official data. No official data was recorded before 2014.
Verma added that the government may not get a lot of applications as most incidents happen when survivors are in the school-going age. “There should be a partnership with NGOs in this sector as they can select and prepare a database of survivors. It will also help survivors as they won’t have to run around for documents and other assistance. Public-private partnership can give a boost such an an initiative,” he said.