The mood in a small lane near Markaz Masjid, where 21-year-old Gulista grew up, was sombre on Sunday. Scores of locals burst into tears as her body covered in a white shroud arrived in an ambulance from Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Gulista, who was about to be married in May, battled severe burn injuries for 45 days after she was subjected to a brutal acid attack on the night of March 21.
Fourth among six siblings, Gulista got engaged to Danish, who hails from Khurja.
Around 3am on March 21, an unidentified attacker barged into the house of Jameel Qureshi and poured nearly one litre of acid over his daughter in sleep. Gulista was rushed to Safdarjung Hospital where she died on Sunday morning.
“She was showing signs of recovery but for the past two days she was silent and did not talk. We were suspicious that something wrong had happened. Sunday morning, she left us. Often, she enquired about everyone at home and told us that she would recover and go back home,” Qureshi said.
But before she succumbed and lost vision, she got her attacker arrested by recognising his voice when he visited the hospital. Gulista heard Shahrukh’s voice while he was talking to her mother. Gulista immediately informed her mother about it.
The victim had severed ties with Shahrukh about a year ago. The man had threatened to deface Gulista then.
“Shahrukh told Gulista’s mother that he had a soft corner for her daughter and could not hold himself from meeting her. He anticipated that she may not survive. She suffered nearly 50% burns and her eyes were also affected. However, when he went to the hospital abruptly and spoke to her family, she recognised his voice. The police later tracked and arrested him,” former SP (city), Salmantaj Patil, had said after Shahrukh was arrested on April 5.
Shahrukh hails from Dadri in Greater Noida and kept following Gulista even after she broke ties with him. On the night of the incident, he allegedly entered Qureshi’s house from the backyard of an under-construction house adjacent to the victim’s home and poured concentrated acid over her while she was asleep.
“Most parts of her body got burnt but she was more concerned about the recovery of her eyes. Her vision almost got impaired after the acid attack. We suspect that she suffered some infection in the head. The other parts of the body got severely burnt too. The doctors at the hospital did their best. I even donated two units of blood to a person in the hope that my good deed may help my daughter recover. But she left us all,” Qureshi said.
This is the second acid attack her family suffered at their ancestral house in Ghaziabad. Nearly 36 years back, Gulista’s grandfather, Haji Mallu Qureshi, was similarly attacked by their tenants.
“Like Gulista, he too was attacked while in sleep. A woman from our tenant’s family poured acid over my father at night. We had an altercation with them over the water pump in the morning. At night, my father was attacked. The woman was jailed and she also died later,” he said.