It was a tragic end for a “love story” that began six years ago and ended Wednesday with the man being awarded a life term by a Moga court for throwing acid on his wife, who is now left with a disfigured face.
Just six years ago, state-level volleyball player Harinder Singh and Mandeep Kaur, a nursing graduate, had sought police protection from the High Court after they got married against the wishes of their families in 2010.
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But only three years later, the story turned ugly. On July 11, 2013, Harinder Singh allegedly threw acid on his wife and father-in-law while they were on their way to court to attend the divorce proceedings involving the couple.
Mandeep Kaur, now 28, sustained 70 per cent burns in the attack and lost her left eye. Today, she still awaits a minimum of 10 surgeries on her face, besides the 48 already done. Her father Shamsher Singh had to be treated for 40 per cent burns.
On Wednesday, the local Moga court sentenced Harinder and his three accomplices to life imprisonment for attempt to murder. It all started six years back when Harinder and Mandeep met at a marriage function. Soon, love blossomed and they got married at a gurudwara in Chandigarh. Soon after, the couple moved the High Court citing theat from their families and were ordered police protection. Later, their families eventually accepted their marriage.
Shamsher said, “Harinder was never a match for my daughter, who is B.Sc in nursing. Harinder was illiterate. But we had to bow before their love. Repercussions are here for us to see. It was only after their marriage we got to know how much he lied. He had claimed he was an assistant sub-inspector in Punjab Police and owned eight acres of land, but it was all a lie. He was unemployed and even took drugs.” Mandeep says she was cheated. In her court statement, she has said that in 2009, Harinder called her to his birthday party where she was served sedative-laced drink. “Harinder told her he had with him her obscene photos and videos and asked her to marry him. They eventually married in March 2010, but after marriage Mandeep got to know that Harinder had no such videos and it was a lie. She left Harinder’s home in 2012,” says Mandeep’s lawyer Amit Ghai.
Harinder’s family had contested the allegations alleging that Mandeep had NRI dreams and wanted to settle in Canada. H S Lodhi, who represented Harinder, “It was a conspiracy by Shamsher Singh who wanted to get rid of his own daughter. In their initial statements, they said some unidentified persons threw acid on them. It was only later that they named my client. He wasn’t able to recognise his own son-in-law at spot. Mandeep wanted to settle in Canada and my client spent lots of money on her IELTS training and nursing course. But she wanted to get rid of him by hook or crook after three years of love marriage. Harinder never took any drugs.” Shamsher says they are satisfied with court verdict, though he wanted death sentence for culprits. “I have already spent Rs 45 lakh on my daughter’s treatment. She can hardly see, speak or walk now. I wanted death sentence for them,” he says.
The family has already got Rs 3 lakh in compensation from the government. Now, the court has directed the main accused to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the victim. Three other accused will pay Rs 1 lakh each and another Rs 5 lakh will be paid from victim’s compensation fund by the government to Mandeep, as per court orders. The Moga court has also approved divorce of couple, citing the acid attack as “cruelty” by the husband.