Acid attack victim seeks support for treatment

Kathmandu, March 22

Rajaram Thapa, 26, an acid attack victim, has been seeking financial support to continue his treatment at Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital around two weeks ago.

Acid attack, one of the most heinous crimes, is instantly associated with violence against women as most of the victims of acid attack are girls or women while males are perpetrators.

A female victim of acid attack draws lot of sympathy from all quarters, including the authorities and rights activists.

But when it comes to a male victim like Rajaram, the authorities seem least bothered to extend support to the victim.

Mitthu Thapa, 64, the victim’s mother has been spending over 10 days at the hospital taking care of her ailing son.

Doctors involved in his treatment told her that Rajaram would have to undergo up to four surgeries to be able to return to normal life.

He might also need more surgeries in future as the side effect of acid can last for years. Siblings of Rajaram have so far contributed over Rs 300,000 for his treatment.

Rajaram, who is a public vehicle bus driver, might have to remain in the hospital for 90 days and his estimated treatment cost for three months is Rs 1.2 million.

Rajaram’s elder brother, Shubharaj Thapa, who is also a driver, said, “We are not in the position to support his treatment given the high cost.”

Ujjwal Bikram Thapa, who has been leading a crusade against acid attack in the country, said it was unfortunate that the state viewed acid attack victim from biased gender perspective.

“It’s unfair because the government had promptly announced financial support to female victims of acid attack in the past, but it has not shown any interest in Rajaram’s case.”

Thapa said the government should ensure that the acid attack victim is treated without any delay.

Thapa also said the government must regulate buying and selling of acid as per the Supreme Court’s order issued on August 2017, against the Government of Nepal. He said mandatory practice of recording name of buyer on the basis of valid national identity card and asking buyer about the purpose of acid could help to curb the crime.

Rajaram’s wife Parmila Thapa, 29, had allegedly poured acid on his face on the night of March 9 while he was asleep in his rented room in Sano Guheshwori of Kathmandu. Police are still struggling to find out the motive behind the act, since Pramila, accused of the crime, has been refuting the allegation.

Family of Rajaram have filed first information report against Parmila, who is being held at police custody following the court’s order.

According to the new Criminal Code Act, acid attack is a punishable crime, which awards five to eight years in jail and fine of Rs 100,000 to Rs 300,000 to the perpetrator.

The SC had again on August last year asked the government to formulate separate act to punish perpetrator of acid attack and provide adequate financial support to the victim. But the government has yet to draft the bill incorporating these provisions.