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Second acid attack in four days

Chinsurah, July 28: A gang of four youths allegedly threw acid on a girl walking to her college in Hooghly today, four days after a similar attack on a Burdwan student who, doctors feared, could lose her vision.

The 20-year-old girl in Arambagh has suffered 10 per cent burns in her arms and doctors treating her said her injury was “not serious”.

Hooghly police are yet to find out the motive behind today’s attack. An officer who questioned the girl said there were discrepancies in her statements.

The twin acid attacks in the past four days have prompted questions on attempts by the Bengal government to implement a Supreme Court order prohibiting the sale of acid across the counter.

On December 3 last year, the apex court had granted time till March 31, 2014, to all states and Union territories to put in place rules for “regulating sale of acid and other corrosive substances” to prevent their misuse, in view of increasing acid attacks across the country.

Last Thursday, an engineering student allegedly threw acid on a college girl in Burdwan town after she turned down his marriage proposal. The girl has been admitted to the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology in Calcutta, where doctors have said she could lose her vision.

The Arambagh girl today said she was walking to her college when the four youths, their faces covered with black cloth, intercepted her on two motorcycles. One of them threw a “liquid substance” at her.

“When I was walking towards my college, I felt I was being followed. I turned around and found that four youths on two motorcycles were following me. Their faces were covered. Before I could understand anything, one of them threw a liquid substance at me and I covered my face in reflex action. The liquid fell on my right arm and there was a burning sensation. The youths fled,” said the second-year student of Arambagh College.

The girl said she walked up to a nearby betel shop and washed the acid off her arm with some water. She then requested a passer-by for a lift to the hospital.

The superintendent of the Arambagh hospital, Bhaskar Nandi, said: “It appears to be nitric acid. But the injury is not serious. We have treated her.”

Arambagh sub-divisional police officer S. Patra said the incident was being probed.

“I have spoken to the girl. We have found some discrepancies in her statements. How can someone throw acid on her and not a drop falls on the clothes? We have not found any witness. Let the girl’s family lodge a complaint. We are probing,” the officer said.

Asked about the twin acid attacks, minister in charge of women and child welfare Sashi Panja said: “There appears to be some slackness on the part of the district administration and the police. How can the attackers get acid? We have to find a way.”