Acid attack victim struggles in Safdarjung, NCPCR helps out

 A 15-year-old girl from Siwan, Bihar, was admitted in critical condition to the burns unit of Safdarjung hospital, after a classmate threw acid on her leading to complete blindness in one eye, burnt face, and breathing, speaking and hearing impairment.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Bihar government to release immediate financial assistance for the child’s treatment. 

Tuba Tabassum, a class-X student, left for tuition at 5 am on September 26, 2012. She had barely walked a few meters when a boy came out from hiding and threw acid on her face. As she fell down, the rest was poured on her back.

“Her back still bleeds sometimes,” said Tabassum Pravin, Tuba’s mother. “The bleeding receded after the first round of grafting.” Tuba was first taken to the district Sardar hospital in Siwan and later shifted to Apollo hospital in Patna.

Mohammed Arif Ashraf, Tuba’s father, who works as a petitioner-writer in the local court, said: “We spent more than Rs 1.5 lakh in Apollo and thereafter came to Safdarjung Hospital on October 11. We are preparing ourselves for four to five years of treatment.”

Lying in room number 31 of ward 22A of Safdarjung’s burns unit, Tuba cannot talk and has a pipe in her mouth to avoid further shrinking of the skin around her lips.

“My daughter would have taken matriculation exam in March,” said a teary-eyed Pravin, an anganwadi teacher. Ashraf has not gone to work since the day of the incident, crippling the family’s economy.

The parents said Tuba’s three younger siblings - one sister and two brothers - are being looked after by relatives.

“One classmate was interested in her, but Tuba refused to start a relationship. He planned this attack with other boys. They were coordinating on phone since Tuba left home that morning,” said Pravin.

The girl’s medical records show that she has lost vision in the left eye, has chemical burns on face, neck, left shoulder and arm, back, and has patchy area over left breast, right arm and leg, and thigh. Her back has numerous holes through which blood kept oozing out despite several rounds of dressing. After skin grafting from her thigh, the bleeding reduced.

She will undergo another surgery on Friday for burns on legs and arms.
The culprits have been caught and are behind the bars. NCPCR noted: “The victim (of acid attack) is known to be subjected to hostile behaviour, is not welcomed at public places and receives stares from the public because of disfigurement, while the culprits get away with a fine or small sentence of imprisonment.”

The commission said there is no legislation to make it mandatory for the state to provide assistance for long-term medical treatment and has asked the Bihar government to release funds for Tuba.

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