The Indian government is considering introducing the death penalty for child rapists.
It comes after an appalling week of news about the abuse of children in the country, with a seven-year-old boy murdered and mutilated in Delhi and an eight-year-old girl raped for three days at a temple in Kathua before being killed.
India already has the death penalty for 12 offences – including rape if it leads to the victim’s death or to them being left in a vegetative state – but not for rape alone.
Under current law, the maximum penalty for the rape of a child is life imprisonment and a fine.
It comes after an appalling week of news about the abuse of children in the country, with a seven-year-old boy murdered and mutilated in Delhi and an eight-year-old girl raped for three days at a temple in Kathua before being killed. Pictured: A girl protesting against rape in Bhopal last week
According to statistics released by the Indian government in December, there were 106,958 recorded crimes against children in 2016. Of those, 36,022 were of a sexual nature. Pictured: Children protesting against rape in Ahmedabad on Sunday
Asifa Bano, who was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir
Purshotam Kumar, seven, (pictured with his parents) was brutally murdered and mutilated in a Delhi slum as he tried to fight off a child rapist
But according to ANI, the central government has submitted a letter to the country’s supreme court to amend the law and to allow for the execution of paedophiles who rape children aged 12 and under.
The submission will be subject to a hearing on April 27.
Maneka Gandhi, the minister for women and child development, is one of many politicians in the country to express outrage over the recent instances of rape in India.
She said, according to the Times of India: ‘[I] am deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua, and all the recent rape cases.
‘I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act
asking for the death penalty for the rape of children below 12 years of age.’
In the horrifying case in Kathua, Asifa Bano, eight, was gang-raped for three days at an Indian temple.
Her mutilated body was found a week after she was kidnapped by a gang trying to drive away the Muslim nomadic herders to which she belonged in India’s Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier this week, police released shocking details of the attack and how she was sedated and kept without food in a small village.
In a horrifying case in Kathua, Asifa Bano, eight, was gang-raped for three days in an Indian temple
Police say she was held in the temple for three days while three men gang-raped her repeatedly before she was strangled and hit twice with a heavy rock.
One of the men involved ordered another attacker to delay her murder so he could rape her one last time, police say.
Eight men, including four police and a Hindu temple custodian, have been arrested over the attack and appeared in court on Monday for the first hearing in a case that has sparked nationwide outrage.
In another case in a Delhi slum, Purshotam Kumar, seven, was kidnapped before having his eyes gouged out, his tongue cut off and his body slashed.
He was found dead in a garbage dump, with Sandeep Singh, 21, admitting to the rape and murder of the boy.
The child’s mother, Puja Devi, demanded justice for her son and the alarming number of other children raped and murdered in India.
‘When will our children be safe? I want him hanged. He’s taken my boy. I don’t want him to do this to another boy, to any other child,’ she cried.
‘There is not point him staying alive, he must be hanged. Children will only be safe when the police catch men like him. The police need to do their job.’
Puja Devi, 25, a housemaid, demanded justice for her son and the alarming number of other children raped and murdered in India
Eight men, including four police and a Hindu temple custodian, have been arrested over the rape of Asifa and appeared in court on Monday for the first hearing in a case that has sparked nationwide outrage
In 2007, a government study found that 53 per cent of children surveyed said they had experienced sexual abuse. Pictured: A protest after the rape and murder of Asifa
In Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, an 11-year-old was allegedly raped and bludgeoned to death at a wedding before her attacker reportedly rejoined the celebrations covered in her blood.
According to statistics released by the Indian government in December, there were 106,958 recorded crimes against children in 2016.
Of those, 36,022 were of a sexual nature.
The figures meant that in 2016, a child in India was sexually abused every 15 minutes.
In 2007, meanwhile, a government study found that 53 per cent of children surveyed said they had experienced sexual abuse.
IMF’s Lagarde urges India to focus on women in wake of child rapes
Christine Lagarde (left) called on Indian PM Narendra Modi (right) to be more assertive in promoting women’s rights in India
IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to focus on women in the wake of the ‘revolting’ rape and murder of two young girls.
While she praised the nation’s economic performance, ‘what has happened is just revolting,’ Lagarde said when asked about the incidents in the past week involving a seven and an eight-year-old girl.
‘I would hope that the Indian authorities, starting with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, pay more attention, because it is needed for the women of India,’ a visibly angry Lagarde was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
‘It’s not just a question of talking about them.’
Speaking as the International Monetary Fund opens its Spring meetings, she said she had admonished Modi earlier this year at a gathering in Davos because ‘he had not mentioned women enough’.
Lagarde, a long-time advocate for women’s rights, said the comments reflected her personal view, not that of the institution.
The gang rapes and murders of the two girls sparked nationwide outrage and demonstrations throughout India.
A 2014 UN report said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. Nearly 11,000 cases of child rape were reported in the country in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s latest figures.