Death penalty for sexual assault on children in India: Will it curb the incidence?

Death penalty for sexual assault on children in India: Will it curb the incidence?

- India's government on Saturday approved the death penalty for convicted rapists of children below the age of 12

- Minimum jail sentences for convicted rapists were also toughened

-The new decree also requiring trials involving child victims to be completed within two months of an arrest

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India has had enough of the escalating brutal intimate violence especially against children and has instituted some harsh measures to deal with those convicted of these types of assaults.

Briefly.co.za gathers that a new decree, issued by the government of the subcontinent and waiting to be made law by the president, will not only impose harsh penalties for those found guilty, but also ensure trials take place swiftly.

Protests across India increased in recent days over the sexual assault and killing of the young Muslim girl by a group of Hindu men in Jammu and Kashmir state.

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The attack, which like a similarly horrific attack of a student on a Delhi bus in 2012, has focused the world's attention on the country known for its patriarchal society.

Reportedly in response to increasing public pressure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a cabinet meeting on Saturday after returning from the Commonwealth summit specifically to pass the ordinance amending laws on sexual violence.

Previously, four Indian states introduced similar legislation in local parliaments.

The country already allows for the death penalty to be applied to brutal murders and terror attacks. However, sentences are rarely carried out.

Often capital cases are struck down on appeal by higher courts, with India having carried out its last hanging in 2015 of a 1993 Mumbai bombing convict.

Activists accuse the country's authorities of lax implementation of laws and its judiciary of snail-paced trials.

It is widely believed these problems fuel the misogynistic in India. Many also claim police are reluctant to act in cases involving influential people. For instance, Modi's government was widely criticised for failing to act against one of his party members who was named by a teenager as her rapist.

Police rejected pleas from the victim to file a case against the lawmaker who remained free for almost a year after the alleged attack.

He was eventually arrested last week following an attempt by the teenager to self-immolate outside the residence of the state chief minister, triggering a wave of protests.

Sexual violence rates are exceptionally high and remain unabated in India. In 2015 some 11,000 child sexual assault cases were reported and a 2014 UN report said one in three victims of such attacks in India was a minor.

On Saturday, police in central Madhya Pradesh state arrested a man accused of a similar crime ending in the of a four-month-old girl.

There have been similar calls in South Africa for harsher sentences for those found guilty of violence against children.

However, South Africa doesn't have the option of the death penalty having abolished it on 6 June, 1995, by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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