Acid attacks more brutal than rape, says judge
MUMBAI: Special women’s court judge AS Shende, who convicted 25-year-old acid attacker Ankur Panwar to death said, “the height of brutality in acid attacks was more than those in cases of rape.”
Ankur, who had thrown acid on Delhi resident Preeti Rathi, 23, was charged with murder after she succumbed to her injuries. He is the first acid attacker in the country to be sentenced to death.
“The incident is extremely gruesome, revolting and horrifying,” noted the judgment, which stressed the need to send “A strong message… to the miscreants of such crime against women… that such crimes shall not be tolerated.”
The court went on to note, “If the rising trend towards such crime is not checked at its inception, it will have monstrous effect on the society and soon it will spread.” The judge noted the ‘anti-social nature of the crime” and said “it also shows a heartless act committed in a systematic and pre-planned manner.”
This case had prompted the legislature to amend the law and introduce stringent punishment for acid attacks.
The court also went to nullify the defence’s theory that Preeti had died because of medical negligence. The judgment notes that Preeti lost her life due to the attack, and not because of medical negligence.
Explaining the reason behind awarding the death penalty, the judge said, “Rape destroys the soul of the victim. But she can be kept in isolation, without disclosing her identity, and can be rehabilitated. But for an acid victim, she has to move around with a destroyed body.”
“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 the person cannot live without their body,’ said judge Shende.