Acid attack victim succumbs in Chennai

Harshest punishment for the culprit demanded

A 23-year-old acid attack victim died at a private hospital here on Tuesday, triggering an outcry from political class and social activists. They have demanded the “harshest punishment” for the culprit, on a par with the perpetrators of the December 16 gang-rape in Delhi.

J Vinodhini, a BTech graduate, was employed with a call centre here. Tragedy struck when she visited her parents at Karaikal in Pondicherry for Deepavali.

On November 14, Suresh (29), a construction worker, hurled acid at Vinodhini near the Karaikal bus stand after she rebuffed his overtures. Vinodhini sustained grievous burns on her face, stomach, arms and shoulder, besides losing vision.She was first admitted to a private hospital, before being shifted to JIPMER in Pondicherry.

Thereafter, she was admitted to the burns ward of Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai.

Scores of well wishers, including some mediapersons, helped the family to raise funds for her treatment since the cost of multiple surgeries was weighing down on her father Jayapaul, a security guard at a private firm in Karaikal.

Even on Monday evening, a plastic surgeon treating Vinodhini said over 90 per cent of her burns had healed, though she would require a high-skilled eye surgery to regain vision.“We did our best, but she had a cardiac arrest,” said Dr V Jayaraman.

The news of her sudden death has cast a pall of gloom over the people of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, especially because she was responding well to the treatment.

The Karaikal police had arrested Suresh and charged him with attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC.

Vinodhini’s parents had also lodged a complaint stating that their daughter “felt harassed by the youth’s abrasive ways.”

CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan and PMK chief S Ramadoss have condemned assaults on women and demanded that Vinodhini’s case be treated as the “rarest of the rare” cases.

“Like the Delhi gang-rape case in Delhi, Section 307 should be converted to Section 302 (murder), as the assault on the victim has ended in her death,” said Ramakrishnan.

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