With Ankur Panwar being convicted for murder in the Preeti Rathi acid attack case, which took place in Mumbai in 2013, we look at five acid attack cases in India that were shocking in every sense.
Preeti Rathi: The incident occurred on May 2, 2013 when Preeti alighted from the Garib Rath Express at Bandra Terminus. A man who had covered his face with a handkerchief came forward and flung acid on her face.
Preeti had gotten a job as a Lieutenant in Indian Navy. She came to Mumbai to join in the INHS Asvini, the naval hospital at Colaba. Ankur’s mother used to visit Preeti’s house, as they are family friends. As her own son was unemployed, she used to taunt him and compare him to Preeti. This caused Ankur much anger. Ankur was a hotel management graduate from a private university in Orissa and spent a huge amount on his education. Yet, he was jobless and his parents’ taunts got to him.
Ankur Panwar (face covered)
Ankur’s mother came to know that the Preeti’s salary would be around Rs 50,000. She taunted him on his inability to get a job. This angered him a lot. Hence, he decided to vent his fury on Preeti. Ankur stole battery acid (sulphuric acid) from the nearby office of Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking. His mother had told him that Preeti was taking the Garib Rath to Mumbai on May 1. He got into the train without a ticket and was searching for the right moment to throw the acid at her. As soon as Preeti got down at Bandra Terminus, he tied a handkerchief to cover his face and attacked her.
Aryanka Hosbetkar: On November 6, 2012, Jerrit John (46), the owner of the No Nonsense, a production house, allegedly flung acid at his former girlfriend, city-based cyclist, Aryanka Hosbetkar (27) at her residence in Worli with a corrosive chemical in the presence of her mother and friends. According to the prosecution, John fled the scene after attacking Hosbetkar. She suffered injuries on her eye and tongue, but she was later discharged from hospital on the same day. Prior to the attack, their relationship was strained after Hosbetkar found out that Jerrit was married and had a five-year-old son.
On November 11, 2012 John was arrested by Dadar police station and was booked under sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 379 (theft), 341 (wrongful restraint), 452 (trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint). The charge of attempt to murder against John was added by police after eleven days. He was convicted in October 2015.
Haseena Hussain: Back in 1999, Haseena was an 18-year-old B.Com. student, and a computer professional in Bengaluru. When he was in her first year of graduation, she got a job in a software centre, which was run by a former Indian Air Force employee named Joseph Rodriguez. After the company began running into losses, Haseena left the job. Joseph was adamant on having her back in his company, but she refused to stay on. The snub is said to have hurt Joseph’s ego.
On April 20, 1999, Haseena left her house at Jalahalli in Bengaluru. At around 8 am, when she reached the office gate, a motorcycle-borne man splashed acid on her face with a jug on her and sped away. Haseena lost her eyesight, and was bed-ridden for nearly 10 years. In addition, the attack left her with a hole in her head and her nose while one of her earlobes was dissolved together.
Laxmi: In 2005, a 16-year-old Laxmi was attacked by a man more than twice her age, after she rejected his advances. The attack took place in the crowded Central Delhi area during daytime. The spurned man, along with his brother's girlfriend, approached Laxmi, and threw acid on her face. Following the attack, Laxmi was left with disfigured face, ears, hands and chest. Instead of losing heart though, she has since turned into a social activist, who works for the welfare of acid attack victims.
Meena Soni: Meena was married off at the age of 16 in Lucknow, and soon after their wedding her husband quit work. Meena later became the breadwinner of the family as they had kids as well. But, this hurt her husband’s male ego, and they would have constant fights over the issue. In 2004, after 15 years of their marriage Laxmi’s husband poured acid on her face while she was asleep, and then himself committed suicide. Meena suffered 75 per cent burns on her face. She, however, picked up the pieces, and is now working for undertrial women in jails.