NEW DELHI -- An Indian court on Thursday sentenced a man to death for killing his neighbor by throwing sulfuric acid at her for refusing to marry him three years ago.
It is the first death sentence given for an acid attack under stringent laws introduced by the government to curb crimes against women following the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus in New Delhi in 2012.
Prosecutors said a Mumbai court sentenced Ankur Panwar after finding him guilty of killing Preeti Rathi, 23. She died of serious burn injuries 30 days after the attack, which severely damaged her lungs, vocal cords and eyesight.
They said Panwar followed the victim on a train from New Delhi where they lived and attacked her with acid as she got off in Mumbai to begin a nursing career with the navy. He was arrested a year later.
Amar Singh Rathi, the victim’s father, said the court verdict would help curb crimes against women. “It took three years for us to get justice, but I am happy that it has been finally delivered,” he said.
Public fury over the 2012 rape case led to new laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism and stalking. But many women say daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and that the new laws have not made the streets safer.