| A photograph of Amitava Biswas, victim of an acid attack by a student in Thakurpukur on Sunday evening. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
'I'm in trouble, please come at once.' The SMS from his student reached Amitava Biswas, 27, around 7 pm on Sunday, while he was coaching students at home.
Within five minutes, he brought out his motorcycle and rushed to the student's residence. Once he was on the terrace with the boy, the student hurled acid at him.
'How could you do this' cried a bewildered Amitava.
In reply came a second blast of acid, which hit him full on the face.
That the tutor was also beaten up was evident from the broken frame of his spectacles and the ripped cover of his mobile phone lying on the terrace till Monday afternoon.
'When I reached the spot, Amitava stood with a towel around his bare shoulders, his hands covering his eyes,' recounted Shankar Agarwal, the friend who rushed Amitava to hospital on his motorcycle. The tutor is now at CMRI, with acute eye injuries.
'The doctors cannot say anything for the next 48 hours. He's under observation. We'll wait for a week and if required, shift him to Sankara Nethralaya,' said Soumitra Sarkar, Amitava's maternal uncle.
According to Amitava's relatives, fortune had just begun to smile on the young man. 'The boy has struggled a lot since his father expired in his childhood. We were looking for a bride for him. He'd also bought a flat next to our place, where he was going to shift next month. All those plans stand foiled now,' lamented Sarkar.
The police said the 17-year-old student, since his arrest on Sunday night, has been giving 'conflicting statements' on the attack. 'He sometimes says it was revenge, for what he himself is not clear about,' said officer-in-charge of Thakurpukur police station P.K. Nandi. 'We are yet to verify any of his statements, which are all very confusing.'
The boy was produced in Alipore court, where he was remanded in judicial custody. The court, however, refused the police's prayer for five days' police custody for the minor.
According to neighbours in Thakurpukur Housing Estate, the boy is very emotional and can become very belligerent at times.
'He's very intelligent, but he does not concentrate on his studies. His father was very concerned over his lack of interest in academics,' said a neighbour, who had helped the boy with his studies over the past few years.
According to witnesses, when the father asked his son why he had attacked the tutor, he shouted that he did it in a fit of rage. The boy's father could not be contacted and his home is locked up.
The Calcutta Port Trust officer has had a very troubled family life, neighbours said. 'The boy is very insecure, probably because he lost his mother early. His elder brother suffers from depression and doesn't go out of the house,' said another neighbour.