World / Indian student in Rome to present paper robbed, escapes acid attack

The New Indian Express : Jun 27, 2019, 06:36 PM

BHOPAL: A promising young cyber-security researcher Harshit Agrawal, hailing from Madhya Pradesh narrowly escaped an alleged acid attack in Italian capital Rome on Wednesday. But the 21-year-old student of MIT College, Pune, lost his bag, passport, laptop and money to the gang who allegedly attempted the acid attack on him.

“Hello Sir/Madam, I’m a student, I was in Paris and Rome for presenting my research paper in conferences and when I was returning back at Rome Metro, some people tried to throw acid on me and snatched all my bag, passport and money,” tweeted Harshit on Wednesday, tagging the tweet to India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his predecessor Sushma Swaraj for urgent help.

“I’ve nothing left with me, I had flight at 4.30 from Rome, but lost my passport and all documents, they’re not allowing. I don’t know what to do. I complained at the Airport police station about the same, please help me get back to India,” Harshit said in another tweet.

According to Harshit’s father Sanjay Agrawal, who is based in Ranapur town in Jhabua district of MP, “Harshit has been adjudged as an excellent cyber-security researcher at MIT Pune. He had recently presented research papers in cyber-security at series of conferences in the US, the Netherlands, Paris and finally at Rome.”

“After checking out of the hotel in the Italian capital, Harshit was about to board a metro train from one of the stations to Airport for catching a flight to Paris from where he would have taken a flight to India via Dubai. But just before he could board the train to Rome Airport, a group of men tried to throw acid on him, but he had a narrow escape. However, the unidentified man snatched from him the bag, money and documents, leaving with him with nothing at all,” Harshit’s father told The New Indian Express.

The young researcher’s father, however, added that the Indian Embassy in Rome is helping Harshit and is making arrangements for necessary documents that would enable him to board a flight to India sans a valid passport. 

“The Indian Embassy staff has contacted with us in India and assured full cooperation and care for Harshit, possibly as directed to them by our government. We hope Harshit will be back in India soon,” said Sanjay Agrawal, a Ranapur (Jhabua)-based journalist.