Delhi nursing graduate loses eye in acid attack at Bandra station

Indian Express

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A NURSING graduate from Delhi, set to join the Army Medical College in Colaba, Mumbai, as a lieutenant, lost vision in her right eye after an unidentified man threw acid on her, minutes after she arrived at the Bandra railway terminus on Thursday morning.

The accused was reportedly travelling in the same train, Delhi-Bandra Garib Rath, as the victim, Preeti Rathi, 25, who was accompanied by her father, Amarsingh Rathi, uncle Vinod Kumar Singh, and aunt Sunita Singh.

Preeti has been admitted to the Masina Hospital in Byculla. "The victim has suffered severe internal burns due to inhalation and consumption of acid and has been put on ventilator. She has completely lost vision in her right eye, but her left eye appears to be all right. She remains critical," said Dr R B Dastur, director, Masina Hospital.

"I called the Army Medical College and asked for help. But the management said that since Preeti had not officially joined duty, they could not do anything. They told me that she cannot join now," said Vinod Kumar.

Preeti’s aunt told the police that she saw the attacker at Navsari, Gujarat. "The accused possibly boarded the train at Navsari. Sunita Singh told us that she first saw him at the Navsari railway station with a bottle in his hand. She then spotted him on the platform of three other stations. It appears that he picked his chance after the train reached Mumbai," said B Shirsat, DCP, GRP (Western Railway).

According to the police, the attacker was in the same coach (G-2) as Preeti and her family. Vinod Kumar also recalled spotting the accused in the coach early on Thursday morning. "At 5:30 am, I walked to the door to get some fresh air when I saw him standing near the bathroom. He appeared to be 20-22 years old," he said.

"The man had covered his face and rushed at us from the front. He was carrying a plastic bottle and threw its contents at us. Most of it hit Preeti, even entering her mouth, and she began to bleed. A little fell on my hands. We fell to the ground while the attacker ran away and disappeared into the crowd," said Amarsingh.

"Several people gave chase but the accused got away. The angle at which the incident has been captured by the CCTV camera has not helped us identify the man," said Shirsat.

Amarsingh, a foreman at the Delhi government-run electricity plant Bhakra Beas Management Board, and two other passengers were also injured in the attack.

The family is now struggling to pay the medical bill. "The Railways gave us an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5,500. But the hospital has asked to pay Rs 60,000. We had brought only around Rs 20,000 with us, of which more than half has been spent on medicines," said Amarsingh.

A case has been registered at Bandra GRP police station under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC.

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