A father protesting an alleged rape attempt on his daughter had to face an acid attack yesterday. Even the teenaged girl was not spared. Both are now battling for their lives in hospital.
Police have claimed that the incident, which took place in Samastipur district, around 110km northeast of Patna, is a fallout of a land dispute. It comes within a week of the chief minister’s direction to district magistrates and superintendents of police to focus on solving cases of land dispute.
Police said Birendra Rai (42) barged into a neighbour’s house at Chak Habib village under the jurisdiction of Bibhutipur police station in Samastipur district yester- day and allegedly tried to rape his 16-year-old daughter, who was alone.
The girl’s relatives told the police that the teenager raised an alarm and a crowd assembled outside the house. They thrashed the accused but he managed to escape. The girl narrated the incident to her parents.
The girl’s father later got into a scuffle with the accused. “The accused’s wife, Renu Devi, along with other relatives, rushed to the spot and threw acid on the girl and her father. The teenager suffered burn injuries on the neck and palm of her hands,” said a relative.
Both were admitted to the plastic surgery department of Patna Medical and Hospital (PMCH), where the condition of the girl’s father is critical after having suffered over 60 per cent burns on the face, eyes and other body parts. The girl too has suffered severe burn injuries in the attack, which the police claimed, was a result of land dispute.
Bibhutipur police station house officer (SHO) Satya Prakash said the girl’s family and the accused were involved in an old dispute over a plot of land at their ancestral village. “Wednesday’s incident is a fallout of the old rivalry,” he added.
SHO Prakash also said the accused and his wife were absconding. He further claimed that a police team had been sent to PMCH to record the duo’s statements. “Acid attack is a serious offence and the guilty would not be spared,” he added.
The incident has sent shockwaves among residents, who thronged the police station on Thursday and demanded immediate arrest of the accused. “We have given the police an ultimatum of 48 hours. If the accused are not arrested, we would launch a protest,” said the victim’s relative.
The state government recently decided to give Rs 1 lakh as medical assistance to victims of acid attack. At least six such attacks have been reported in the state since January this year. In most cases, the offenders were put behind the bars.
Earlier, the acid attack was made a punishable offence under Section 326A of the Indian Penal Code and any person found guilty of the offence was made liable for punishment not less than 10 years.