KOCHI: Even before the civic bodies could come up with proper guidelines regarding the new rule that makes licences mandatory for tattoo artists and studios, fake social media profiles have surfaced, claiming to sell licences for Rs 5,000 or less
The state government recently made it mandatory for tattoo artists and tattoo studios across the state to own a license to operate. The decision was taken in the wake of complaints and issues that surfaced due to several unscientific tattooing practices.
As per the new rule, the local self-government secretary is the licensing authority for the certificate, and he will be backed by a committee consisting of a medical officer, a health supervisor from the local body, an officer from the district chemical analytical lab and an officer from state pollution control board for scrutinising applications for approval.
Tattoo artists and studio owners will also be required to submit training and qualification records and experience certificates while applying for the license. The tattooing equipment and inks used should be approved by the State Drug Control Department. The proposed order has also specified that these centres, as well as artists, should follow a biomedical waste management system which will be inspected by health department authorities.
Exploiting the confusion
But even before there is clarity on this rule, several fake pages have surfaced on social media, claiming that the certificates are on sale. Around 15 tattoo artists from across the state are now trying to register an association, to curb the miscommunication in the emerging industry.
“It was evident that there was little clarity on the issue. Amid the confusion, many artists from Kerala have been approached by fake accounts on social media who claim that they can sell us the certificate,” says Eric Edward, artist and owner at Pachakuth Tattoo studio in Kochi. The fraudsters say that lack of a license would lead to the closure of the studio to convince the victims. “First they said it’s free. Then they said it was free till June 14, and over 80 artists from Kerala received free certificates from them. They asked me to pay `5,000, and then gave me a discount of `2,000,” quips Eric.
These fake pages have used Google images to create a profile and show their sample work. “I confronted them too, saying I have seen their work online. They claimed that international artists were copying them,” says Eric, sharing screenshots of his conversation with an alleged fake account @tattooheadquartersadda.
NO OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION YET
TNIE spoke to officials of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram corporations, who said no official rule regarding licensing tattoo studios has come to them yet. “Once the corporation is notified, we will provide clarity on the licencing process, and how artists and studio owners can procure them,” says A S Nisam, Kochi Corporation secretary. Biju B, health supervisor, Thiruvananthapuram City Corporation, also confirmed that they are yet to receive the official circular regarding the new rule. “Licensing tattoo parlours will help curb unscientific procedures,” he said.
Fake profiles must be notified
Shibu V, ASI of Cybercrime office in Thiruvananthapuram, said people must notify the police about the activities of such fraudsters. “We haven’t received a complaint in this regard yet. We urge tattoo artists to notify the police if fraudsters attempt to take advantage of the situation,” he said.