LUCKNOW (India) • A 23-year-old Russian suffered severe burns in an acid attack yesterday while she was sleeping in the Indian holy city of Varanasi, the latest in a series of attacks on women tourists.
Ms Darya Yurieva, who had been in India for about four months, was rushed to hospital after her landlord's son allegedly attacked her in a homestay accommodation, according to police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
"He threw a bottle of acid on her early on Friday morning while she was still asleep," said additional director general of police Daljeet Chaudhary. "The accused will be nabbed soon," he said, adding that the suspect had been on the run since the attack.
The Hindustan Times newspaper reported that the victim had turned down her attacker's marriage proposal weeks ago. Ms Yurieva said she wanted to go back to Russia as her visa had expired and this allegedly angered the man.
The attack is the latest in a series reported by foreign women visiting India. An American tourist had accused two men of raping her in the popular Himalayan hill station of Dharamsala in northern India in September. In February, a Japanese woman accused a tour guide of drugging and raping her in Jaipur.
Attacks on women have been on the rise with 132,000 cases of sexual offences against women last year, according to official figures.
There were more than 300 acid attacks last year, the Indian Express newspaper reported in April based on provisional data from India's National Crime Records Bureau. But experts say those figures are likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly warned state authorities to enforce restrictions on the sale of acid, but campaigners say it remains easy to buy.