A 23-year-old Russian woman suffered over 40 per cent burns after a youth allegedly threw acid on her in Varanasi on Friday morning, police said.
Police identified the accused as Siddhartha Srivastava and said he attacked the woman, a tourist, because she was preparing to leave the country while he wanted her to stay back and marry him.
The victim, identified as Darya Prokina, used to stay at Srivastava’s house at Nand Nagar Colony, close to Banaras Hindu University, whenever she was in Varanasi since August, police said.
“Srivastava is being interrogated. An FIR would be registered as per the statement given by the victim to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate,” said a police officer, adding that Darya’s condition was “stable”.
According to police, the incident came to light after Darya was admitted to the burns ward of BHU hospital by members of the Srivastava family around 5 am.
“The victim had sustained injuries on the right side of her body, including parts of the face and hand. She was sleeping when the accused threw acid on her,” said Station Officer (Lanka) Sanjeev Kumar Mishra.
Said Deputy Inspector General (Varanasi Range), S K Bhagat: “Prima facie, it has come to light that the two had developed a close friendship and visited many places together. Apparently, the accused did not want her to leave the country. More facts will emerge after detailed interrogation of the accused.”
According to Circle Officer, Bhelupur area, D P Shukla, “The woman had first come to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, in March, on a tourist visa from Moscow. Then, she came to Varanasi in June. During her stay, she came in contact with Siddhartha. The two went to various places, including Assam and Sikkim.”
Shukla added that in October, the two went to Sikkim. “The woman went to Sikkim again, but this time without Siddhartha. When she returned about three days ago, she insisted on leaving the country. Siddhartha was apparently not happy with it,” he said.
The police have recovered a receipt dated November 6 which shows that Siddhartha bought acid from a shop in the Sigra area of the city. “A ticket for Darya has been recovered which shows she was to fly out to Sofia (Bulgaria) from Delhi on November 18,” said Shukla. The jar in which Siddhartha had bought the acid has also been recovered by police.
Said Siddhartha’s grandfather, Hridaynath Srivastava, a retired deputy excise commissioner and an author: “Siddhartha had completed his graduation from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth and enrolled in Bachelor of Music (Flute) in BHU. He was a humble boy but seemed to lose interest in studies some time ago.”
He added that Darya was not a paying guest at the house but was accommodated as Siddhartha’s friend.
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