The Gurdaspur police on Thursday arrested the two men allegedly involved in the acid attack on Rajwinder Kaur (17), a Class-12 student, at Kahnuwan village in the district on Wednesday evening.
Addressing a press conference, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Toor said the duo had been identified as prime accused Manpreet Singh, 24, and his accomplice Ajit Singh, 22. They were arrested around 9.30am from their houses at Bhaowali village near Kahnuwan. Kahnuwan is about 20km from Gurdaspur, the district headquarters.
According to the girl's statement, she was attacked as she had rejected the advances of the prime accused. The duo, with their faces covered, allegedly parked their motorcycle on the roadside and stood waiting for her. When she arrived, returning home after appearing in an examination, Manpreet allegedly threw acid on her from a glass bottle before the two sped away.
The victim, a student of Government Girls' Senior Secondary School, Kahnuwan, is a state-level netball player and a hammer thrower. She received about 20% burns, including injuries on her lips, throat, forearms and breasts. The damage could have been greater, had she not covered the better part of her face with her clipboard.
She was rushed to the community hospital, Kahnuwan, where she was given first aid and then referred to the civil hospital. However, her family then took her to a private hospital in Amritsar.
A case under sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means, including poison or corrosive substance), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at the Kahnuwan police station. Toor said the motorcycle used for committing the crime had been recovered.
The doctors treating her in Amritsar said she was out of danger.
Minister to seek free medical aid
On the directions of Punjab education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Gurdaspur district education officer (DEO, secondary) Amardeep Singh Saini visited her at the hospital in Amritsar and assured her of all possible help from the education department. The DEO spoke to Dr Cheema on the phone about the girl's condition.
The minister told the DEO that he would speak to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, seeking free medical aid for the victim. Dr Cheema said special arrangements would be made to conduct Rajwinder's remaining examinations, adding that her result would be declared along with that of other students. The victim is the daughter of an ex-serviceman working for a private company.
The girl told the DEO that the prime accused had been making advances to her, but she had ignored him. She claimed that upset at being snubbed, the prime accused threw acid on her. She said the accused also used to threaten her brother and harassed her on the phone.
A complaint had been made to the Kahnuwan police about the threats to the girl's brother, but reportedly no action was taken.