Police arrested a man accused of throwing acid over two schoolgirls in Nepal on Friday. The incident has sparked numerous protests across the country demanding justice for the victims and the regulation of acid sales. 

Police told the Baltic Review that Jiwan BK, 20, a former tenant at one of the victim’s house, has been found guilty of the shocking attack. The alleged perpetrator had been telling his family that he was in Gangtok, Sikkim, to get enrolled in the Indian Army. The police arrested him in his currently-rented room in Kathmandu. 

“The attacker will appear in court on Sunday, he did not resist the arrest. He claimed that he was infatuated with Sangita, one of the victims, and wanted to disfigure her as an act of revenge after she rejected his romantic advances,” Pushka Karki, Chief of the Kathmandu Valley Crime Division told the Baltic Review. 

The police further informed that newspaper clippings about the incident and medicines to treat depression were found in the attacker’s room. The relationship between the two youngsters remains unclear. The accused fainted during a press conference organized in Kathmandu today. He was in handcuffs when he lost consciousness. 

Sima Basnet. Photo by Bibbi Abruzzini.
Sima Basnet. Photo by Bibbi Abruzzini.

The young victims, Sangita Magar, 16, and Sima Basnet,15, were studying at a tuition center in Kathmandu when the masked man barged into the room and splashed acid on them on February 22.

The arrest comes just a day after the beginning of the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations the schoolgirls were preparing for on the day of the attack.

Despite the injuries, both victims are among the 574,685 Nepalese students who will sit the final examination in the secondary school system – known as the ‘iron gate’ – this year.

Sangita Magar who sustained severe injuries is taking the board exams with the help of an assistant from her hospital bed.

“The coward ruined my daughter’s life, now that he has been found I hope that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars or that they will hang him ‘till death,” Chameli Magar, Sangita’s mother, told the Baltic Review. 

However, according to the law currently in force in Nepal, a person who uses acid on others is liable, based on the degree of disfigurement of the victim, to two months to three years in jails and only 5$-50 in fines. 

Hundreds of protesters have staged mass demonstrations across the country demanding the Nepal government to come up with stringent laws to deter acid attackers from committing such a heinous crime.

Protests in Kathmandu. Photo by Bibbi Abruzzini.
Protests in Kathmandu. Photo by Bibbi Abruzzini.

 

Bibbi Abruzzini

Bibbi Abruzzini is a foreign correspondent for the BALTIC REVIEW and international news agencies in South Asia. She is Italian, grew up in Brussels and has reported from several countries, including Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Nepal, Tunisia,Turkey and the US – writing largely about social and development issues.