In a show of support, more acid attack survivors, on Wednesday, have joined acid attack victim Preeti Rathi's mother's campaign to get justice for her child. Talking to media, survivors from Agra's Sheroes' Hangout have spoken against the Bombay High Court's Tuesday judgment commuting the convict Ankur Panwar's death sentence to life imprisonment, asking for stricter laws, some suggesting solitary confinement and some suggesting death penalty.
Here are their comments when asked about the judgment in the Preeti Rathi case.
" The judgement was passed very late and even the accused was caught only a year later. He should be given life imprisonment and family members wishing to meet him should be restricted," said survivor.
"His hands and legs should be chopped off. So that he lives his entire life regretting his action. He will then only understand our pain," said another survivor.
"He should not be imprisoned as he will be allowed to meet family members every week. He will not realise that he is undergoing punishment. He will be emboldened meeting his parents. He should be given death penalty only,"added a survivor.
"He should be put in solitary confinement where there is no light. Because government is compassionate towards such attackers, hence such attacks are happening. If laws are stricter may be there will be no more attacks," said another survivor.
Acid attack survivors all over the country have joined the campaign started by Roshni Devi- Preeti Rathi's mother who was on Republic TV's 'Arnab Goswami on the Debate' on Tuesday along with her son Hitesh Rathi.
Fighting against the Bombay High Court's judgement commuting the death sentence of Ankur Panwar, she has said that she would fight till Panwar is hanged, adding that while Panwar would live his life in prison, she had already lost her daughter and husband.
Earlier in the day, the city high court upheld the conviction of a 25-year-old man in the 2013 Preeti Rathi acid attack case but commuted his death penalty to life imprisonment. A division bench of justices B P Dharmadhikari and P D Naik partly allowed the appeal filed by convict Ankur Panwar, challenging the death penalty awarded to him by a special court in 2015.
This was the first instance of the death penalty being awarded by a court in the country in a case of acid attack. The Bombay High Court commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment on finding that the case at hand could not be termed as rarest of the rare.
"The conviction under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 326 (b) (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid) is upheld. The death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment," the bench said.
Rathi, a 23-year-old nurse, who was to join the Navy hospital in Mumbai, died after an acid attack in May 2013 by her stalker Panwar. On May 2, 2013, acid was flung on Rathi when she got down from Garib Rath Express at the Bandra Railway Terminus. She was supposed to join Colaba Naval hospital INS Ashwini as a staff nurse. Having suffered severe damage to her lungs, she succumbed to the injuries on June 1 at the Bombay Hospital.