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India introduces the death penalty for child rapists



  Protesters in Jammu demand harsher punishment for child rapists, April 19, 2018

image copyright
AFP

Caption

Reported rape of underage children has more than doubled between 201
2 and 2016 in India

India's Cabinet has approved the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists amidst uproar over a series of high profile cases.

The amendment to the country's Criminal Code applies to those who have been under the age of 12 for rape of a child.

In recent weeks, there have been nationwide protests over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl by the gangs.

The government has come under fire because it has not done enough to prevent sexual assault Children

A number of serious crimes in India carry the death penalty, but a rape of a child was not among them until now.

Nearly 19,000 cases were registered in India in 2016 – more than 50 per day.

What's in the new law?

The executive order was approved in a special Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He allows the death penalty for anyone convicted of rape of children under the age of 12.

Minimum prison rape sentences against girls under 16 and women were also raised.

According to Reuters, who saw a copy of the Order, neither boys nor men were mentioned.

Why now?

Two recent rape cases have shocked the nation.

There were protests earlier this month after the police released appalling details about the rape of an eight-year-old Muslim girl by Hindu men in Kathu in Kashmir, India in January.

The anger is also rising after a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was charged last week with rape of a 16-year-old girl in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

India's poor record in dealing with sexual violence came to the fore after the rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in 2012. This led to massive protests and changes in the country's rape laws.

But sexual attacks on women and children have since been reported across the country.

How is the death penalty used in India?

In India, executions are rarely performed, only three in the last decade.

The four men convicted in the Delhi case, however, were sentenced to death that has not yet been executed.

The judge said in this case that it fell into "the rarest rare category" justifying the death penalty in India. According to the Hindustan Times, the Indian Penal Code has already imposed the death penalty for gang rape.

Hanging is the main method of execution. A man convicted of financing the 1993 deadly bombings in Mumbai was the last person executed in India – in 2015.


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