INDIA: Another Woman Dies in Chennai After Acid Attack

Monday, February 25, 2013
Times of India
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

A second woman died of injuries sustained in an acid attack in Chennai in less than a fortnight, her vital organs collapsing on Sunday due to infection from fourth degree burns after an obsessed lover attempted to kill her on January 30.

Vidya (21) died 12 days after Vinodhini (23) suffered fatal cardiopulmonary failure in a city hospital on February 12, following a similar attack in Karaikal on November 14.

Vijay Bhaskar, 31, threw acid at Vidya who worked at an internet cafe because she asked him to stop harassing her.

Bhaskar was also carrying a knife that he intended to use if he missed his mark with the acid and showed no remorse after the attack. "This should serve as a warning to other women who plan to cheat innocent men," he said after he was arrested.

Vidya's mother Saraswathi said Bhaskar and Vidya had been in a relationship for more than a year and both families had consented to them getting married. She said Vidya had asked Bhaskar not to trouble her at the internet cafe after Bhaskar's family deferred the marriage because they wanted their daughter to be married first.

Police initially registered a case an attempt to murder against Bhaskar which has now turned into a case of murder. Acid attacks are being reported, to the embarrassment of the Tamil Nadu police, with alarming regularity from across the state.

Police said Bhaskar confronted Vidya at her workplace during her lunch break on January 30 after buying Sulfuric acid.

Vidya turned away as he threw the acid at her face. Bhaskar pushed her to the ground and rubbed her face against the acid that had spilled on the floor before he escaped.

Shopkeepers heard Vidya cry out for help and came to her rescue. They told her mother about what had happened and took Vidya to a hospital.

Vidya's family refused to take her body and alleged that doctors at the hospital did not give her proper treatment. They also said the government did not take note of the attack.

However, Dr Jaganmohan, head of the department of burns and plastic surgery, KMCH, said doctors at the hospital had shaved off layers of dead and damaged tissue from Vidya's back and face, but the infection had spread to her bloodstream and organs.

After Vidya's death, members of the All India Democratic Women's Association on Sunday demanded that the government promulgate a stringent law to curb acid attacks on women.