Less than three months after the Supreme Court asked the Centre to frame stringent laws to curb acid attacks, a woman in Bihar’s Samastipur town is facing the grim prospect of total blindness after a man poured the toxic liquid on her face after she resisted his alleged molestation attempt.
The 30-year-old woman was attacked on Friday on platform No 4 of the railway station in Samastipur, about 50 km south-east of this north Bihar district headquarters town. The assailant, a rickshaw puller identified as Ganesh, is absconding.
Doctors attending to her at the sadar hospital in Samastipur said the victim had already lost vision in her left eye and it was touch-and-go for the right one.
“The acid claimed her left eye almost immediately. Unless it receives specialised treatment immediately, she will lose her right eye, as well,” said Dr Pawan Kumar, who treated her.
On July 18, the Supreme Court had directed states and union territories to frame rules to regulate sale of acids and other corrosive substances make acid attack a non-bailable offence. The court had also clamped down on the sale of the toxic liquid and also ordered higher compensation for the victims, Rs. 3 lakh as after-care and rehabilitation cost within two months.
But even treatment by a specialist to save her eye was a far cry for the victim, who was not receiving the desired support from either her family or from the sadar hospital authorities.
“I have been given neither medicine nor food since yesterday noon,” the victim told reporters who visited her at the hospital on Saturday. “Earlier, I used to beg for alms and fed myself. Now, what will I do?” she wept.
Initial inquiries revealed the victim had been on her own since she left her husband’s home in north Bihar’s Darbhanga district, several years ago. Even the whereabouts of her father is not known.
Muzaffarpur superintendent of rail police (SRP) Binod Kumar placed three government railway police personnel under suspension for dereliction of duty.
Confirming their suspension, SRP Kumar said a police team had been set up to nab the accused Ganesh. “We have also taken the victim’s husband, Ramprit Giri, into custody for interrogation”, he added.
“The victim got married to Ramprit of Darbhanga nearly 15 years ago, but she left the house of her in-laws only two months after her marriage.
Now, she is not ready to go with him,” said the SRP, quoting Ramprit. He further said the GRP were trying to hand over the victim to a non-government organisation (NGO), so that her treatment could be done properly.