Three young Dalit sisters in Uttar Pradesh have been hospitalised after they were attacked with acid while they were asleep at home. The incident took place at around 2 am in a village in Gonda district, 117 km from state capital Lucknow.
The police have arrested the main accused, identified as Ashish Kumar, after an encounter. The accused has received a bullet injury to his right knee, the police said, adding a country-made gun has been recovered from him.
The three sisters were sleeping in their room when the attacker allegedly entered their home from the terrace and threw acid on them.
On hearing their cries, their father rushed to their room to see that they were attacked with acid. The attacker had escaped by then.
The oldest sister, 17, has 30 per cent burn injuries and middle sister who is 12, has 20 per cent burns. The youngest, 8, has five to seven per cent burns. They have been admitted to a government hospital in Gonda.
Their father irons clothes in the village to earn a living.
"The oldest girl who has the maximum burns, her wedding was fixed. The wedding was about to take place soon. Her face has been burnt because of the acid. Now I don't know how the wedding will happen," he said.
The police had been speaking to the family of the sisters and their neighbours. A forensic team and a dog squad of the police had been searching the area.
"The family has not named any suspects who may have thrown the acid. Hence, the investigation is being done based on a complaint against unknown persons. However, we suspect that a known person has a role in this," senior police officer Shailendra Kumar Pandey had told NDTV.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government over the incident. "The UP government's politically motivated narrative of justifying and protecting perpetrators of crimes against women has only emboldened criminals across the state," she tweeted.