Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Friday said that her ministry intends to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) to make provision for the death penalty in child rape cases.
Maneka’s statement comes amid worldwide grief and anger over the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao rape case.
“Aap log (media) chaahte hain ki two minute mein karyavahi ho jaye (the media demands that in two minutes the action should be taken). The action is being taken by State Government into the matter. Also, we are contemplating an amendment to the law which awards death penalty to rapists of minors below 12 years of age,” Maneka told media here.
For those unversed, the girl, who belonged to the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community in Kathua district, was abducted on January 10. She was reportedly held in captivity for a week by the accused in a small village temple in the district. She was kept sedated and sexually assaulted once again before she was bludgeoned to death.
Among the accused in the case are police officers and a retired government official.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday announced that the state government would bring a new law to make the death penalty mandatory for those who raped minors. She assured the entire nation that she stood committed to ensuring justice in the Kathua case.
However, in Unnao rape case, a woman and her family on April 8 tried to commit suicide outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow. Her family alleged that she was raped by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his accomplice last year, and no action was taken against the accused.