Acid attack victim critical, Railways to foot medical bills

Mumbai, May 5 (IANS) The condition of Preeti Rathi, the nursing graduate from New Delhi who became the victim of an acid attack here four days ago, continues to be critical, her father said Sunday.

“She continues to remain in the ICU. There is no improvement in her condition so far,” said a worried Amar Singh Rathi, her father, who is camping in Mumbai’s Masina Hospital, Byculla, to take care of his 25-year-old daughter.

Rathi and Preeti had arrived Mumbai last Thursday on their first-ever visit to the “city of dreams”, which turned into a nightmare after an unknown youth hurled acid on her face shortly after they deboarded the Garib Rath from New Delhi at Bandra Terminus.

She had come to take up a new job as a nurse lieutenant at the Army Medical Hospital in Colaba, south Mumbai. Now, the family has no clue about her career prospects with the defence establishment, according to Rathi.

“We shall officially approach the army authorities in Mumbai tomorrow (Monday) and present her case. Then it will be for them to decide,” Rathi said.

Meanwhile, in a major relief to the family, the Indian Railways have decided to take care of all her medical bills as the incident happened within the railway premises, said Rathi.

Masina Hospital director R.B. Dastur said that Preeti suffered internal burns due to inhalation and consumption of acid, and has completely lost vision in the right eye. The left eye is apparently not affected.

Mumbai police have released sketches of the unidentified attacker based on CCTV footage from Bandra Terminus, but he remains at large four days after the incident.

Police have also questioned Preeti, her father Amar Singh Rathi, his brother Vinod Kumar Singh and his wife Sunita (Vinod Kumar) Singh.

The family has informed the police that the attacker possibly may have boarded the train at Navsari, Gujarat, where they first spotted him.

He got the opportunity at Bandra Terminus when, his face covered, he lunged at Preeti and threw the acid from a plastic bottle on her. Some of the acid fell on Amar Singh, who works as a foreman with an electricity plant, Bhakra Beas Management Board, and two other passengers.

Though many passengers attempted to chase the attacker, he managed to disappear into the crowds.

The Government Railway Police, Bandra, has registered a case pertaining to attempted murder and causing grievous hurt by dangerous means or weapons, and are attempting to trace the culprit.

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