Death for stalker who killed nurse in Bandra acid attack | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Death for stalker who killed nurse in Bandra acid attack

Sep 09, 2016 05:55 AM IST

MUMBAI: In a landmark judgement on Thursday, special women’s court judge AS Shende sentenced 25-year-old Ankur Panwar to death for a fatal acid attack on 23-year-old nurse Preeti Rathi at Bandra terminus in May 2013. Panwar, Rathi’s neighbour in Delhi, threw sulphuric acid on her just after she arrived in Mumbai on May 2, 2013 to join the Indian Navy as a nurse. Rathi died of multiple organ failure at Bombay Hospital a month later. Panwar attacked her as he was jealous of her success and because she had rejected his marriage proposal.

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This is the first time that a convict in India has been sentenced to death for an acid attack. India is also only the second country, after Bangladesh, to have done so. Under Bangladesh’s Acid Crime Suppression Act, attackers can be sentenced to death.

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Panwar was convicted primarily on the basis of eyewitnesses’ statements, and because he could not explain certain injury marks on his hand. Judge Shende said that acid attacks were more brutal than rape. The judge said, “Rape destroys the soul of the victim. But she can be kept in isolation, without disclosing her identity, and be rehabilitated. But for an acid attack victim, she has to move around with her destroyed body.”

Judge Shende added, “Preeti survived for 30 days because she did not know how she looked; she was blind. She had no idea of the effect of the attack on her face. Survivors of acid attacks look like aliens — their own children can get scared of them. This is the kind of effect acid has on the body, and a person cannot live without their body.”

According to the police, Rathi arrived in Mumbai with her father and aunt on May 2, 2013 to join INHS Aswini as lieutenant (nursing). Soon after they alighted at Bandra terminus, Panwar, who had followed her from Delhi, tapped Rathi on the shoulder. When she turned around, he threw acid on her, also injuring her father Amarsingh, aunt Sunita Dahiya, and two other passengers, Sudeshakumari Singh and Sameer Shaikh. Rathi was taken Guru Nanak Hospital and later shifted to Masina Hospital. When her condition worsened, she was taken to Bombay Hospital on May 18. But she succumbed to her injuries on June 1.

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