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Since 1st March, 1999
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Sisters splashed with acid at home

Calcutta, Aug. 2: A young man walked into a house this morning, splashed acid at the girl he wanted to marry and her sister and slit his own wrist and throat.

All three are in south Calcutta’s MR Bangur Hospital now.

Yunus Mondal, 20, a tailor in Metiabruz, was apparently in love with zari worker Amina Bibi’s younger daughter. But the mother had insisted on the elder sibling getting married first.

When Yunus walked into Amina’s two-storey house on Karbala Road in Metiabruz around 10.30am, Sonali, 15, and Suparna, 18 (names changed), were stitching zari on a sari in a first-floor room.

The man walked up to Sonali and asked her if she was ready to marry him.

An altercation ensued between the two and the sister came forward to intervene.

Then Yunus whipped out a bottle from under his shirt, splashed the acid on the girls and ran out.

Out on the first-floor corridor, he pulled out a small but sharp knife from his pocket and first slit his left wrist and then his throat.

Alarmed at the cries of her two daughters, Amina, who was on the ground floor, rushed upstairs and found the girls writhing in pain and Yunus lying in a pool of blood, barely able to speak.

“Yunus is in a critical state. His injuries are deep and there has been a considerable blood loss. The sisters have 15 to 20 per cent burns, but Sonali’s injury on the left eye is serious,” said hospital superintendent H.K. Chanda.

Yunus used to frequently come to the house and Amina hadn’t objected when she saw him going up today, said a senior police officer.

The sort of acid he brought with him today is easily available in neighbourhood stores.

The Supreme Court had recently urged the Centre to enact a law to tighten over-the-counter sale of acid to curb attacks on women.

When the Centre said it would consider a law commission report on this, the court chided it. “Why do you want to wait when there’s a model to follow?” it asked, pointing to Bangladesh where a 2002 law has made acid attacks on women punishable by death.

There is no provision in Indian law to deal with acid attacks. Such offences are booked under bailable sections that deal with causing grievous injury or attempt to murder.

However, the Union government told the Supreme Court the proposal to ban easy sale of acid had not found favour with the states. Curbs on the sale of acid, it added, would be impractical and lead to “inspector raj”.

Yunus, originally from Bongaon in North 24-Parganas, has been living in Metiabruz for two years.

Every time he went to Amina, a widow, with the proposal, she told him that there was no hurry because Suparna had to get married first.

The police officer said the girls’ mother also told Yunus often that she would have to check his background first and that would take time.

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