Acid attack on BJP leader in Rishikesh, India
This story was originally reported in The Pioneer, an Indian newspaper, and was written by Vikram Rautela. To see the story in its original context, click here.
In a shocking incident, a local BJP woman leader from Rishikesh was attacked with acid and her house set on fire on Friday morning. The woman is under treatment at a hospital, while her 24-year-old daughter died reportedly due to shock.
The accused, Laxman Tiwari, has been arrested on charges of attempt to murder and further investigations into the case are on.
The incident took place when a local BJP leader and president of the Shyampur Grameen Mahila Mandal, Geeta Shankar (42) and her daughter Khushboo (24), were alone in their house in THDC colony in Rishikesh.
Around 10:30 am, a resident of Rishikesh, Tiwari barged into the house and allegedly threw acid on Geeta. The accused then allegedly sprinkled petrol in the room and set it on fire.
Khushboo, who was on the terrace at the time of incident, came down the stairs on hearing her mother’s screams. Shocked by the sight, she fainted.
On seeing fumes and fire in the house, some locals intimated fire brigade personnel. The fire fighters reached the site and doused the fire. The mother-daughter duo was rushed to Nirmal Ashram hospital where Khushboo died in the ICU in the afternoon.
Geeta, who has sustained more than 65 per cent burns, is currently under treatment in the hospital. Police said that her condition was critical.
Meanwhile, Geeta’s husband Mani Shankar later lodged a complaint of attempt to murder against Tiwari and some unidentified persons. “Based on the complaint and the victim’s statement, we have arrested Tiwari on charges of attempt to murder and house trespass. Further investigations into the case are on,” Rishikesh Circle Officer TD Waila said.
Waila added that they have roped in forensic experts to help them in the investigation. “Though in the complaint it has been alleged that Tiwari threw acid on Geeta, we suspect that the volatile liquid may have been petrol or some other inflammable substance.
We have collected samples of the burnt items in the house and they will be sent to forensic department to ascertain facts.”
Preliminary police investigations reveal that Tiwari was having an affair with a local girl whose family was against their marriage. As president of Shyampur Grameen Mahila Mandal, Geeta was roped in to intervene in the matter. According to police Tiwari was against Geeta’s intervention in the matter and had had a fight with her earlier as well. On Friday morning, however, Tiwari barged into Geeta’s house and threw acid on her.
While ASTI is working to end acid violence and support survivors, incidents such as these are horrifyingly commonplace around the world. As deeply regrettable as this attack was, Geeta is fortunate enough to have a supportive family and the political power to spur the police to action. Many acid attack survivors do not have the influence to seek justice against their attackers. To help ASTI and its in-country partners support survivors and lobby for stronger acid violence laws, please donate.
Posted on October 07th 2011 by Office in ASTI news