‘Deeply disturbed’ Maneka Gandhi to ask for death penalty for child rape

New Delhi—Amid nationwide outrage and grief over the gangrape and murder of eight-year-old girl at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, there is a move to change the law for sexual crimes against children to bring in the death penalty for child rape.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi declared it in a video message in which she said she was “deeply, deeply” disturbed by the Kathua rape case.

Maneka Gandhi, the Union women and child development minister, said her ministry would move a cabinet note on Monday to amend POCSO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences) 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,” said Maneka Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, on Thursday said a new law would be introduced awarding death sentence to those guilty of raping minors in the State.

Mufti tweeted, “We will never ever let another child suffer in this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors, so that little Asifa’s case becomes the last.”

8-year-old nomad Bakerwal (herdsmen) girl, went missing while grazing horses in Rasana village of Hiranagar tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on January 17. Her body was found in woods near her village a week later.

The DNA and police investigations have revealed that she was held inside a local temple where she was drugged, raped and killed. The police have arrested eight people including the custodian of the temple, his son and two Special Police Officers for their alleged involvement in the crime. A police Sub-Inspector and a Head-Constable too have been arrested on charges of destroying evidence.

The Chief Minister in another tweet said, “I want to assure the entire nation that I stand committed not just to ensure justice for Asifa but also seek exemplary punishment for those responsible for a crime whose brutal savagery has shamed humanity.”

She had earlier in yet another tweet said, “The Law will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people. Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on the fast track & justice will be delivered. #JusticeFor Asifa.”

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