Vinodhini, a 23-year-old woman, who suffered grievous burns three months ago in an acid attack by a man whose advances she had rejected, succumbed to the injuries on Tuesday at a private hospital here.
The crime took place in Karaikal, an enclave of the Puducherry Union Territory, on November 14 last year.
Doctors at the hospital said she had suffered a cardiac arrest. Plastic surgeon V. Jayaraman, who was treating her since the attack, said, “We twice tried to revive her heart. We also gave her blood. But the protein levels were low as she did not have enough nourishment.”
Vinodhini, a B.Tech graduate, was employed in a private company in the city and lived in a working women’s hostel in Saidapet. Her father, Jayapal, is a watchman in a private school in Karaikal. The assailant, Suresh, alias Appu, was a family acquaintance. Suresh was a construction labourer who had befriended Jayapal and over a period of time had also loaned him money.
On November 14, Vinodhini was walking with her father to the Karaikal bus terminus after visiting her parents for Deepavali. Before she could board a bus to Chennai, Suresh accosted them and threw nitric acid at her. Vinodhini and her father Jayapal suffered injuries.
“Though Vinodhini’s father had returned the money, Suresh kept pestering him and once we even lodged a complaint with the police. He was reprimanded but he continued taunting the father every time he got an opportunity. But we never thought he would attack Vinodhini. He had even sought her hand in marriage, but Jayapal had pointed out that she was highly qualified and advised him to give up such thoughts,” Vinodhini’s uncle Ramesh said.
After the attack, she was rushed to a private hospital in Karaikal, where first aid was administered. She was then referred to JIPMER, Puducherry. On November 15, she was transferred to the Government Kilpauk Hospital, Chennai, which has a burns ward that specialises in treating acid attack victims. But the injuries were extensive, with her nose, eyes and ears, suffering irreversible damage. After Dr. Jayaraman retired from KMC, she sought to be moved to a private hospital where he could treat her.
For several weeks doctors continued dressing her wounds and waited for the acid reaction to subside so that they could assess the damage. But within a week it became apparent that she had lost sight in both eyes.