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Acid victim faces sight loss

Calcutta, July 26: The 19-year-old acid attack victim from Burdwan could lose her vision, doctors at Calcutta’s Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) said today.

The internal and external eye tissues of the college student, who was shifted from Burdwan Medical College Hospital today, have been damaged, the doctors said.

A Burdwan youth who studies engineering in Hyderabad had allegedly hurled acid at the girl on Thursday after she turned down his marriage proposal. The accused, 22-year-old Ayan Sheikh, has been arrested.

“The internal tissue structure has been damaged completely. The periocular tissues (around the eyes) have melted after coming in contact with acid. Even if the girl undergoes corneal transplantation, it will not be fruitful,” said an RIO doctor. “The muscles that control the opening and closing of the upper eyelids have melted completely.”

RIO doctors have decided to keep the girl, a second-year geography honours student, under medication for the time being. “We will not do a surgery at this stage. Senior doctors will again review the girl’s condition on Monday,” the doctor said.

The girl’s elder brother alleged that Ayan, a fourth-year BTech student of a private engineering college in Hyderabad, threw acid at her as soon as she opened the door on Thursday. The brother said the youth, a resident of Burdwan’s Jamalpur, had befriended the girl on Facebook.

“He wanted to marry my sister but she had turned down the proposal as she wanted to continue with her studies,” the brother, an unemployed postgraduate in history, said. “But it seems that she will never be able to study again.”

The brother said his mother, a schoolteacher in Burdwan’s Galsi, had “single-handedly raised me and my sister after our father’s death in 2000”.

“My sister wanted to be a teacher like our mother,” he added.

As the girl lay in her hospital bed, her eyes bandaged, her mother said she was hoping the teenager would get her eyesight back.