A two-year-old boy in India has tragically suffered burns to half his face after his mother’s stalker kidnapped him and attacked him with acid.
Little Aditya Raj has been in hospital for three weeks battling severe burns to his face, shoulders, and hands.
He was kidnapped for 24 hours before he was found dumped in a bin with acid burns to half his face and now risks losing his eye sight in one eye.
Mother Soni Prasad, 25, said: ‘I haven’t seen my son yet, I can’t look at him. I’m devastated. I cannot believe my son has suffered this way. I do not know what to do. He is my only son and I’m still in shock. I am just helpless.’
Soni first told her husband, Jamna Prasad, 33, a daily labourer, that a local man had been harassing her earlier this year.
A man called Mangal, aged 27, would constantly ask Soni to marry him and verbally attempt to persuade her to leave her husband.
Soni said: ‘He wanted me to leave my husband and marry him. I kept refusing his offer but he never stopped. He was very intimidating.’
‘I feared he would do something to me when my husband was away at work.’
Worried of his intentions Soni and Jamna decided to move and in July this year they started a new life in Shanti Nagar, in Gurugram, New Delhi, in a bid to escape the constant harassment.
On December 13 Soni was preparing dinner while Aditya was playing outside. However, when Soni went outside at approx 6.20pm, to check on her son, he was gone.
Soni quickly called her husband, who was at work, and Jamna rushed home before the couple started searching for their son. They sought the help of neighbours after reporting their missing son to the police.
Groups of people searched all night, and Soni and Jamna never gave up hope they would find him.
‘I most definitely feared he (Mangal) had taken my son,’ Soni said. ‘He wanted revenge.’
‘I felt he kidnapped my son so I’d be forced to go to him.’
The following morning at 7am, a truck driver stopped to urinate around a dustbin on the side of a road in the same area and heard a child crying.
Jamna said: ‘The driver spotted my son and told local people. The news spread to my neighbours before we finally found out. We were overwhelmed.’
Jamna added that he believed the man kidnapped his son as a warning to his wife.
‘But when he found out we had gone to the police he got stressed,’ Jamna added. ‘He got scared and then dumped my boy. Out boy was found screaming with acid burning his skin as he was lying in a dustbin. His face was heavily damaged.’
‘Who could do such a thing to such a little boy?’
Aditya was immediately rushed to the burns unit of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital and was then transferred to a private hospital in Gurugram.
Jamna couldn’t afford to take his son to a private hospital initially but thanks to a local charity, Make Love Not Scars, Aditya is now being treated at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Dr Anurag Pandey, a plastic surgeon, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: ‘The boy’s condition was severe when he arrived. He’d suffered nearly 20 percent burns to his face, one shoulder and both his hands. While his life is out of danger, his eyesight continues to be in danger. His eye cornea is injured but we’re doing all we can to save his sight. We have kept his eyes closed and will keep them closed to give them time to heal.
‘The majority of his wounds have been taken care of during a three-hour surgery but his shoulder is still pretty raw and will need surgery next week.
‘But he will definitely need further surgeries in the future.’
‘He is able to talk and is responding well to the treatment but the skin grafting will take weeks to heal.’
Soni, who is currently eight months pregnant with her second child, said: ‘My husband says I would not cope seeing him. I don’t know how I would control myself if I see him in pain. His culprits should be hanged or should be punished in the same way they have attacked my son.’
Kidnappers Govind aka Ram Das, 20, a farmer, from Gurugram, has been arrested. The main man, Mangal, 27, who was the one who harassed Soni, is still on the run.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Rupesh Kumar, from Khandsa Road Police Station, said: ‘The kidnapping was done to take revenge on the couple. On the basis of CCTV footage, we have discovered that the boy was kidnapped. Govind has been arrested and has admitted to the crime. We have imposed Section 326 A (punishment for acid throwing), 364 (Kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), and 307 (Attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code on him. The investigation is still on and further action will be taken in due time.’