Maneka Gandhi proposes death penalty for rape of children below 12 years, changes to POCSO Act

13 Apr , 2018 , 08:06 PM
Kathua Rape Case: Maneka Gandhi to ask for death penalty for child rape
Kathua Rape Case: Maneka Gandhi to ask for death penalty for child rape

Amid the growing anger and protests over the gang rape and brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, the Women and Child Development Ministry said it would move a notice to amend the POCSO Act and bring in the death penalty for child rape.

“Deeply disturbed” over the issue, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi declared in a video message that her ministry would intend to bring in an amendment to the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

"I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years," the Union minister said in a video posted on YouTube.

On January 10, the little girl was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by a group of men allegedly to hound her nomadic Muslim tribe community out of the Rassana area of Kathua.

According to the agency investigating the case, she was kept at Devsthan or a place of worship at Rasana village. She was drugged and gang-raped before being brutally murdered.

Terming the incident a “heinous crime”, Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid hoped that Asifa would get justice as the SIT had filed the chargesheet in the case.

Earlier on Thursday night, Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a candle-light march at India Gate in the heart of the national capital to demand justice for Asifa.

Terming the issue a national interest, Rahul questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the issue and said it’s time now for him to walk the talk on ‘Beti Bachao’ (save the girl child).

Amid loud slogans against the BJP and Modi during the march, Rahul said women of the country were afraid to go out today and the government should ensure their safety.

“We are here against crimes being committed against women, against rapes, violence and murder and the government must act on this. This is a national issue and not a political one," he added.

First Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 11:26 AM
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