NEW DELHI: A 54-year-old man attacked a 17-year-old girl with acid in central Delhi's Anand Parbat area on Thursday after trying to convince her to get her mother to withdraw a rape case filed against him.
The accused, identified as Prem Singh, also consumed some of the acid himself, leading to his death at a hospital.
Furnishing details, DCP (Central) SK Sain said they received a PCR call regarding an acid attack in Anand Parbat area after which the local police station staff immediately rushed to the spot and found that the victim and the accused had already been taken to Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital in a PCR van.
“The police officers promptly arrived at RML Hospital and identified the injured as a 17-year-old minor, and the alleged assailant as Prem Singh, both receiving treatment in the RML Emergency ward,” the senior police official said.
The girl told the cops that her mother had previously filed a rape case against Singh, their neighbour. Singh was on interim bail, granted on November 29, for a family-related event.
According to the girl, at around 7:30 a.m, Singh allegedly insisted that she tell her mother to withdraw the rape case filed against him. When she refused, Singh purportedly carried out the horrifying act of pouring acid on her.
"Disturbingly, he also consumed some of the acid himself. Consequently, a case under relevant sections of the IPC was registered at Anand Parbat police station,” the DCP said.
The accused succumbed to his injuries during treatment. “The victim, having sustained minor injuries, has been discharged from the hospital,” the official added.
Acid attacks are defined by the National Commission on Women as intentional acts of violence in which perpetrators throw, spray, or pour acid on the victim. They cause immediate damage, disfigurement, pain and long-lasting medical complications for victims. These attacks are aimed at dominating and controlling women.
Acid attacks were not treated as separate crimes until 2013’s landmark judgement delivered by the Supreme Court. In the judgement, the top court took cognizance of acid attacks and passed an order on the regulation of sales of corrosive substances.
The punishment for acid attacks now comes under Section 326A which deals with crimes voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means. This is punishable with a minimum imprisonment of 10 years which is extendable to life along with a fine. The provisions of the law also include punishment for denial of treatment to victims or refusal of police officers to register an FIR.
As many as 1,362 acid attacks were reported in the country in the last five years, according to NCRB data. In 2021, 176 cases were reported while the conviction rate was 20 per cent. Five cases of acid attacks were registered in 2022.