India

Preeti Rathi murder: Death for India acid attack convict

Preeti Rathi's parents with a photograph of their daughter Image copyright Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Image caption Preeti Rathi's parents grieve over a photograph of their daughter

A man in the Indian city of Mumbai has been sentenced to death for a fatal acid attack on a woman at a busy railway station three years ago, in what is being seen as a legal landmark.

Preeti Rathi, who was 23 when she was murdered, had just arrived from Delhi to join the Indian navy as a nurse.

Her neighbour Ankur Panwar attacked her after she rejected a marriage proposal.

It is the first such sentence for an acid attack in India. Many such attacks go unpunished, campaigners say.

Panwar, 25, was convicted of murder and other offences at a special court in the city on Tuesday. He is likely to appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

On Thursday, the special court said that the crime fell within the "rarest of rare" category which justified the death penalty.

Ms Rathi, who suffered severe injuries to her lungs and eyes in the attack on 2 May 2013, died a month later.

A month after her death, India's Supreme Court ordered federal and state governments to regulate the sale of acid.

Image copyright Courtesy: Hindustan Times

The court ruled that acid could only be sold to people who showed a valid identity card. However, critics say that it is still widely and easily available.

According to government figures, there are hundreds of such attacks a year; but campaigners say the real figures are much higher.

More on this story