A 26-year-old man threw acid on his wife, six-month-old nephew and five in-laws while they were sleeping in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district on Friday, allegedly to teach them a lesson for complaining to the police against him for demanding dowry.
Doctors said the victims sustained 30-50% burns with the infant in a critical condition, raising concerns about the continuing easy availability of acids despite a Supreme Court ban on its sale.
The main accused, Sajid, was still at large but police managed to arrest two of his brothers, Majid and Rizwan, who allegedly helped him with the acid attack.
“Teams have been dispatched to every possible location to arrest Sajid,” said Daya Shankar Dwivedi, the PR officer of the senior superintendent of police.
Sources said Sajid used a wooden ladder to climb up to the roof of the house, where his wife Ujma was sleeping with her parents, three sisters and nephew. He, along with his brothers, then poured acid on the family and escaped as the victims howled for help. Neighbours then informed the police control room and the cops took them to the hospital.
Ujma’s father Nasir said he had complained against Sajid, a mason, two months ago but the police demanded a bribe to act against him, forcing them to wait for a hearing before a committee on June 7. “Had they taken notice of our complaint, the incident could have been averted,” he said.
Ujma had married Sajid almost two years ago but barely one month later, he allegedly began to demand Rs. 50,000 as dowry. When the family refused to fulfil his demand, he forced Ujma to go back to her parents’ home. The family tried to resolve the issue with intervention of some local influential people but failed, prompting them to lodge the police complaint.
Describing the charges as baseless, Dwivedi said in such cases, the police initially tries to resolve the issue by seeking the assistance of a committee, which refers the issue to a court only after failing to find a solution.