The man guilty of Kashmir's first reported acid attack received a 10-year jail sentence on Friday to stop the crime from taking the rest-of-the-country proportion.
On Thursday, the court had convicted motor mechanic Riyaz Ahmad Nath of making the murder attempt on a young teacher here on January 3, 2013. He will also have to submit `10,000 as fine. "This is first-of-its-kind conviction in the state. This is the first case that came to light, and a severe sentence was important to nip the evil in the bud," said public prosecutor AA Teli.
The lawyer believed the sentence could be a major deterrent. "The court also asked the state government to pay the victim `3 lakh as compensation. The woman has received a government job already," he added.
Nath had intercepted the teacher on her way to a private tuition centre in Srinagar's Barzulla locality and thrown acid over her face. She received serious burns on even on the arms and was moved to New Delhi for specialised treatment.
Delivering the verdict, the court said the guilt was proved "beyond reasonable doubt". "He (Nath), with criminal intent, carried sulphuric acid while following the victim and threw acid on her face in the presence of a prosecution witness," the judgment read. The terrifying act disfigured the woman and made her lose one eye.
Citing a Delhi high court observation that most of the reported acid attacks in India were on women, particularly on young women, by spurned suitors or husbands who were denied dowry, principal session judge Mohammad Shafi Khan maintained: "Acid attack is a terrifying experience, as it melts the human flesh and even the bones, causes excruciating pain and terror, and leaves the victims mutilated and scarred for the rest of their lives." The court stressed that the present case was no different.
State told to follow SC's acid-sale rules
The court also directed the state administration to regulate sale of acid in Jammu and Kashmir as specified in the Supreme Court guidelines.
It directed the district development commissioner of Srinagar to ensure that the ban on the over-the-counter sale of acid was implemented and the dealers maintained the record of the buyers and the quantity sold.
They have to ask the buyer for the government-issued photo-identity card that carries a permanent address and get the reason for purchase on record.
The Supreme Court has banned the sale of acid to minors in any situation.