Pradeep Pattanayak

In a shocking incident, four persons suffered critical burn injuries in acid attack at Nuapada village under Ward no-11, on the outskirts of Bargarh town on Saturday. 

The injured have been identified as Manoj Soni, Geeta Debi, Gundu Bhoi and Pinku Sharma.

According to sources, Pawan Soni and his younger brother Manoj Soni, residents of Nuapada village, had not been in good terms over some family issues. They picked up a quarrel on Saturday. In a fit of rage, Pawan allegedly threw acid on Manoj from a bottle, injuring him severely. 

Meanwhile, some neighbours intervened and rescue Manoj. In the process, Geeta Debi, Gundu Bhoi and Pinku Sharma also had the corrosive liquid thrown on them. Pawn too suffered injuries. The five persons were immediately rushed to Bargarh Town hospital. Later, they were shifted to VIMSAR in Burla of Sambalpur district after their condition deteriorated. 

Rina Bhoi, wife of Gundu Bhoi, said the only fault of her husband was that he had tried to dissuade the brothers from quarrelling. “The acid splashed by Pawan also fell on my husband, leaving him seriously burnt,” she added. 

A neighbor, Rekha Kahir, said the situation would have been different if children were on the spot. 

In a similar incident that took place at Gulunda village under Binika police limits in Subarnapur district on December 2, two persons suffered burn injuries after they threw acid at each other. Bikram Haripal and Brundaban Chhatria, who worked as painters, engaged in a verbal duel over a minor issue like putty work. The scene turned ugly after they threw acid at each other. They are still battling for life at VIMSAR in Burla. In this connection, police had arrested two other persons and forwarded them to a court.

The rising number of cases of acid attack in the State has been a great cause of concern. As per the government records, between 2013 and 2021, as many as 67 cases of acid attack on women were registered and 68 persons were arrested. However, from today’s incident at Bargarh and the incident that occurred in Subarnapur district on December 2, it can be ascertained that the use of acid is no longer restricted to harm women.
The legal provisions preventing storing and selling acid notwithstanding, a variety of this lethal liquid meant for daily use in houses is easily available in open market. People misusing it to cause harm to others have been a cause of headache for the State.