Acid attacker was a new kid on the block between Holi festival


The precise motive behind the acid attack on a group of Hindu teenagers while they were celebrating Holi in Model Colony’s Rahim Yaar Khan Goth on Monday still remains a mystery for the relatives and neighbours of the victims.

However, some believe that the 19-year-old Christian attacker, Sabir Masih, was “used” by unknown people in the area to ruin the celebratory mood of the Hindu community on the special occasion of Holi.

Between 250 and 300 Hindu households dot the area of Rahim Yaar Khan Goth, whose members are mostly employed in government intuitions as sanitary workers.

Residents say that Masih’s family had shifted to the neighborhood about four months ago, and therefore ruled out any possibility of a personal vendetta. He was a regular face in the area but no untoward incident happened which could be a reason behind such a devious act.

“He did not attack any individual in the crowd. He just opened the acid bottle and splashed it on those standing there at the moment,” said Shaam Lal, an uncle of one of the victims and one of the elders of the community.

The victims themselves were clueless as to why they were attacked. Sameer, one of the two boys who received burn injuries, said he knew Masih by face as a neighbour but neither was he on close terms nor had any dispute with him.

“I work at the JS College nearby and don’t spend much time in the area, so I really don’t know him personally,” said Sameer.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses claim that Masih, who lives across an open ground, came to their area – a narrow lane comprising several houses of Hindu families at about 1:15pm in the afternoon.

“He was carrying a 250ml disposable plastic bottle full of acid. He stood there for a while and then threw the contents at the crowd before running away,” said Harish, a 14-year-old who also sustained minor injuries. “While he was running back to his area, we managed to grab him and the crowd beat him up badly.”

Others living in the area said that the Masih, now on the run, when being roughed up by the crowd, had claimed his innocence.

“He said he had no idea that the bottle contained acid, since somebody had handed it over to him claiming that it was some harmless colour,” said Sagar, who had been present when Masih was being held by residents of the area.

Meanwhile, as the electronic media rushed to the spot and the police registered a case, Masih’s family fled their house. “The police and Rangers arrived on the scene and raided the house but the whole family had left the area,” said Shaam Lal.

Two of the victims, namely Sameer and Sanjay, had been taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre while four others went to nearby hospitals since they had received only minor injuries.

Though saddened by the incident which had clearly ruined the day, the young Hindu boys were jubilant about the fact that the electronic media covered the news so extensively.

Source: The News