by Nadeem Badshah
British Asians have spoken of their fears over going out in the evenings following the spike in acid attacks – and have called for tougher sentences.
Communities have said they are also afraid to open their front door and leave their car windows open after eight people were allegedly targeted by corrosive substances in recent weeks in London.
Police in Southampton are investigating a “fake acid attack” where water was thrown at two Muslim women by a man in a passing car last week.
The Metropolitan Police have revealed there were 455 acid offences recorded in London last year and nearly a third of victims were Asian.
Police officers in London are now carrying 1,000 acid attack response kits, which include protective gear and five-litre bottles of water, to help treat victims.
Harmander Singh, a magistrate judge and spokesman for the Sikhs in England think-tank, told Eastern Eye : “People are concerned to even open their front door.
“There’s been cases of people [at home] being threatened with substances in aggravated burglary or robbery cases.
“The laws are already there, it’s about individuals being charged. It leaves life changing injuries; some would equate it to attempted murder.
“Elderly people are most concerned. Even jogging down the street now is a risk now, especially in the summer holidays where you are likely to wear less clothes when outside.
“There is very little precaution you can take. Longer prison sentences is one option.”
Some British Asians are avoiding east London over concerns of being attacked. Since 2010 there have been 415 acid attacks in the Newham and 157 in nearby Barking and Dagenham.
On Facebook, groups like the Newham Peoples Alliance are posting pictures and video footage of crimes to warn locals and to help police catch the criminals.
Saheena Ahmed, 27, a finance worker from London, said: “Since the horrific acid attacks that have taken place recently, I have felt quite uneasy about going to east London.
“I feel scared thinking about the people that live there and have no choice. I constantly read the news to make sure that no further attacks have taken place.
“It will take me a while to feel safe about being in east London regardless of it being day or night.”
Ahmed added: “I think the perpetrators deserve a life sentence for these crimes. After giving their victims a life sentence with their injuries, they can’t be allowed to walk free.”
Motorcycle and moped riders in the capital have been targeted by gangs carrying bottles of acid.
Many are refusing to work after 8pm and hundreds held a protest outside parliament last week demanding government protection from violence.
The demo was organised by Jabed Hussain, the victim of an alleged acid attack who had his scooter stolen.
Hussain, who works for UberEats, said: “We are scared. (The) government’s
not taking enough action, government isn’t providing enough police.
“I am a victim of an acid attack, I don’t want anyone else to experience the feeling of it.”
Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham in London, called for carrying acid to be made a crime.
Criminals who carry out the attacks can be prosecuted for grievous bodily harm and jailed for life.