by Masood Hussain
SRINAGAR: The more than 111 thousand- word judgement by Jawad Ahmad, Principal Sessions Judge Srinagar that convicted two young men for disfiguring the face of an eighth-semester law student in Srinagar details the chilling incident and how police cracked the apparently ‘bind’ case. Triggered by the failure of a “love affair”, the painful acid came from Kupwara where the two young business partners planned revenge.
The attack was carried out by two men – Irshad Amin Wani @ Sunny son of Mohammed Amin Wani, a resident of Wazirbagh, Srinagar and Mohammed Umar Noor son of Noor Mohammed Dar, a resident of Bemina, on December 11, 2014, just outside the Kashmir Law College in Srinagar. It was a student of the same college who drove the victim to the hospital, formally moved an application for the FIR and became the first witness to record his statement before the court.
Initially, the only information with the police was that of the witness, “A white colour Maruti car, on the bonnet of which there were black lines and on its rear side windscreen something like “Munsa” was written, was slowly slowly coming from their opposite side. The moment this Maruti car reached near Sehar, water like substance was thrown on the face of Sehar from that Maruti car and then the car fled.” As the police started investigations, the details came out and these were chilling.
The first things to be seized by the police were the acid-burnt clothes of the victim girl student and her cell phone, a Samsung Duo.
By December 12, a SIT was investigating the case. While a manhunt was launched to locate the car, cell phone call details located two cell phones with which the victim was talking frequently and in detail. It turned out to be a student, who told police that the victim “had friendly relations with one Irshad Amin alias Sunny”.
Police started locating Sunny and he fled to Jammu wherefrom he was brought home. Under sustained interrogation, he named his business partner Mohammed Umar Noor. He had also fled Jammu and Kashmir and was finally brought back. His hand was also burnt in the attack he carried on the victim. The two confessed to the crime.
Umar Noor Dar told the police that they both went to Kupwara in a Lancer vehicle and purchased acid and one glass beaker. Police investigations revealed that the purchase was made by the duo from Muneer Ahmed War, a salesman at the shop of Gulistan Company, Bihama Kupwara, on December 6, 2014. A voucher was recorded and recovered and finally made part of the investigations. The two were running a spare part shop in Kupwara.
Loaded with acid, they decided to finally use it on December 11, five days later. This time, they did not use Lancer. They used a Maruti (JK01L-0940) that belonged to Irshad Ahmed Dar, Umar’s uncle. The crime was committed at Tawheedabad Nowshera.
While throwing acid on the victim, his right hand also got burnt. For treatment, he got it treated at a medical shop in Jawahar Nagar. Police located Mohammed Yousuf Dar, an employee at Chiloo Medical shop in Jawahar Nagar who treated his acid-burnt right hand.
After the crime, the duo went to the compound of Dar’s Bemina home “where they fixed back both front and rear side number plates of the vehicle”, which Umar Noor Dar had taken out and kept in the dickey of the vehicle. “They wiped out the sticker of the name of “Musa” from the rear side windscreen of the vehicle, red cross stickers on rear-side of the windscreen of the vehicle and also the black tape lines erased and thrown in a drain near the house,” the verdict reads. “The stains of acid, tape and stickers were cleaned with the water and thereby the shape of the Maruti car was changed.”
It was at Kupwara that they changed the outlook of the Maruti car. Umar Din, one of the witnesses told the police that on Umar’s request, “he had fixed a sticker of the name of “Musa” on his Maruti car and had also put two black tape lines on one said of his Maruti car from bonnet to dickey except on the windscreens”.
Musa was Umar’s cousin and his father told the police that prior to the Musa sticker, the car actually had a red cross on it because he works for the health department.
The motive was an act of revenge. The victim was friendly with one of them and then she had a change of heart. Irshad told the police that he was in a relationship but she changed. “For the last few months her behaviour had got changed and often she would ignore his phone calls and refused to marry him, which he could not tolerate,” the judgment reads offering details from investigations and the trial. “Though he went to several religious saints (Peer-Faqeer-Darwesh). Though he had got Talisman (Taweez) from different religious saints so that she should again have interest in him but, he did not see any benefit of such a Talisman (Taweez). He took his friend and business partner accused No2 Mohammed Umar in his confidence and hatched a conspiracy whereby he planned that if Sehar could not be of Suny (i.e. accused No.1) then she should not be of some other person as well.” A personal search from Irshad led to the recovery of some “objectionable items” including the photographs and documents related to the young victim were recovered.
A police supplementary charge sheet submitted before the court on October 3, 2015, also established the connection between the victim and the attacker. This was based on the detailed investigations by CFSL Chandigarh that carried out the data analysis of the mobile used by the victim. “On the basis of the data information submitted in the supplementary charge sheet, it was found that the accused No1 and the victim had deep love affairs for a pretty long period and because of some confusion, they had the breakup,” the judgment details the outcome of the analysis.
The two were convicted under three sections of the IPC. Section 326 A of IPC pertains to acid attacks with punishment ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. Section 201 is about hiding or destruction of evidence of a crime and carries imprisonment of seven years. Section 120 is about commission or attempt to commit, or the abetment of, any offence punishable with imprisonment.
The two were formally arrested on December 25, 2014. Police were quick in investigating the case. The charge sheet against the accused was submitted on March 20, 2015.
“I find that the prosecution has been able to establish the charges against the accused persons beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. As such, this charge sheet is accepted and the accused persons namely Irshad Amin Wani (Accused No1) and Mohammed Umer Noor (Accused No.2), are held guilty for the offences punishable under Sections 326-A, 201 &120- B RPC,” the judgment observed. “Accordingly, the accused persons are convicted for the offences punishable under sections 326-A, 201 & 120- BRPC.”
Victim Sehar Nazir was flown out by her family for protracted treatment. She lost right eye as her face and hand was burnt severely. She was treated at Chennai and informed the court that her family spent Rs 35 lakh on her treatment. She completed her studies and was appointed a standing counsel by the government in Srinagar court in April 2022.
After undergoing almost 11 surgeries, the victim gave her side of the story in 2015 in almost four hearings. She said Irshad texted and rang her up and wanted that she should talk to him. He even came to her college and threatened her. She claimed torture on his part. She told the court that in case she would not pick his phone, he would get angry. Once, he took her away from a bus and boarded her in his own vehicle at Nowhatta. At another occasion, she alleged that Irshad beat her near the foot bridge.
The statement did confirm that she was in some sort of the relationship but the details suggest that it was an abusive one. She told the court that he would order her to alight from the sumo and in case she would not, he would get his vehicle and stop the Sumo. It led her to stop taking his calls since November 2014. Then she claimed he told her on November 29, 2014, to talk to him at least once in a fortnight to which she agreed. On December 120, 2014, he suggested her to meet him which she claimed she refused. On the day of the attack, she told court he got every detail of her location on phone from her, moments before he sprinkled the Sulphuric acid ion her face.
The victim told the court that after she was being driven in an auto the hospital, she took somebody’s phone and rang up accused. She “told him what he did with her. He told her where she is and who is with her. Accused also told her that he had to do this with her and he wanted to do this with her,” the judgement details.
The victim, a resident of Solina, had schooled at Sir Syed Memorial School and then moved for plus-two to Girls Higher Secondary School, Kothi Bagh. She told the police court that she had no male friend till she reached the college. Mother of the acid thrower had also talked to her on phone, she told the court, adding she would talk to his sister and his brother as well.
The Principal Sessions Court examined 44 witnesses during the trial and the quantum of punishment will be announced by the court on August 19. The two accused were represented by advocates Yawar Khan and Malik Imran. Special Public Prosecutor, Abdul Aziz Teeli represented the prosecution.