1. ITV Report

Acid attack victims model for photo shoot in defiance of brutal scars

A series of photographs starring victims scarred by acid attacks in India have been released as part of a charity's work to highlight the problem.

Photographer Rahul Saharan has worked with the Stop Acid Attacks campaign group for two years, and met the girls at its treatment and rehabilitation centre, Chhanv, in Delhi.

The girls have all been treated at the Stop Acid Attacks centre in Delhi Credit: Rahul Saharan

He told ITV News he was inspired by their stories to help promote the work of the charity, and to inspire victims into being confident when going out in public, rather than staying at home out of shame.

I want to change the perception of beauty, to which society has a very narrow approach.

Everyone is beautiful and they must feel beautiful. It doesn't matter if you are skinny to healthy ,dark to fair, tall to short,ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing.

Instead of taking professional models we took these beautiful girls as models, because they define beauty, courage, postiveness [sic], there is so much to beauty and these girls are strong.

– Rahul Saharan
Rahul says he wants to 'change society's perception of beauty' Credit: Rahul Saharan
It's hoped the shoot will help others build their confidence Credit: Rahul Saharan
Rahul says he wants to help girls feel able to go out in public, rather than stay at home in shame Credit: Rahul Saharan

Among the five girls used as models is Ritu, who had acid thrown at her by two men on a passing motorbike as part of a property dispute.

Rupa was attacked in 2008 on the order of her stepmother. She wants to become a clothing designer and employ other victims - and she even designed the clothes used in the shoot.

One of the girls, Laxmi, was attacked by an older man after she spurned his advances Credit: Rahul Saharan
Stop Acid Attacks says there are countless other examples of this kind of vicious attack Credit: Rahul Saharan

And Laxmi was pinned down and had acid thrown on her for spurning the advances of an older man seven years ago, and she launched a campaign for a change in the law to recognise acid attacks.

Stop Acid Attacks says there are countless other examples of girls suffering such violence in the country, and Saharan said he hopes his photographs will help remove some of the stigma from girls who have been targeted.