In a horrific incident that sparked outrage in Delhi, a 17-year-old girl, on her way to school with her younger sister, was attacked with an acid-like substance by two men on a motorcycle near her home in Dwarka Wednesday morning.
The girl, who was to take the CLAT exam on December 18 for admission to a national law university, sustained severe injuries on her face, neck, and eyes. She is being treated at the Safdarjung Hospital.
Delhi Police said three men have been arrested following raids. The incident, police said, took place around 7.30 am and was reported to police at 9 am.
The attack was widely condemned and drew sharp responses. Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena spoke to the Police Commissioner while Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, expressing shock at the incident, said the “accused should get the strictest punishment possible”.
A National Commission for Women team visited the hospital and met the victim’s family. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights asked the police to take urgent action.
When she was attacked, meters was barely 100 meters from her house in Dwarka. A CCTV clip shows one of the accused, riding a pillion on a motorcycle, throwing an acid-like substance at the girl. She is seen shielding her face and running away.
Her younger sister ran home and informed her parents, while shopkeepers in the area rushed to pour cold milk and water on the girl’s face.
Sagar Preet Hooda, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), said the main accused, Sachin Arora (20), and his associates Harshit and Virender Singh have been arrested.
“Harshit was on the bike with Sachin. Virender is involved in the conspiracy. We have recovered the bike and a mobile phone. The acid was ordered on Flipkart and payment was made online by Sachin,” Hooda said.
He said Sachin and the girl knew each other but around September, she stopped talking to him. “He was enraged and planned this. Virender tried to mislead the police and create a false alibi for Sachin. He wore similar clothes, took Sachin’s phone, and stood with a bike at another spot. The acid-like substance will undergo chemical examination,” he said.
DCP Harsha Vardhan said the accused started planning the attack a few days ago. “We are not sure of the nature of the acid. Prima facie, it’s nitric acid that was used,” he said.
Police said Arora does wallpaper work, while Harshit works in a private company where he does packing work. Virender is a generator mechanic.
The girl’s father, a businessman, told The Indian Express, “My daughters usually go to school together. I think they were waiting for another friend at the chowk when those boys attacked her. I can’t believe all this happened in a busy lane. My daughter has never hurt anyone. If I had known about the man, I would have taken care of and dropped her to school. My younger daughter said there were two men and their faces were covered.”
The parents rushed the girl to a local hospital that referred her to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, where she was taken to Safdarjung Hospital.
Doctors at Safdarjung hospital said the girl has 7-8% burn injuries and is undergoing treatment.
“She is not critical. She has burn injuries on her face and neck, and her eyes are swollen. She can talk and is recovering,” an official said.