Indian child rapists get death penalty

Move comes amid nationwide outrage over brutal rape of 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir
NEW DELHI, India: The Indian cabinet on Saturday approved death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years of age.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in capital New Delhi.
The new ordinance also increases the minimum punishment for raping a girl under 16 years of age from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
The amendment will come into effect after it is signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The move comes in the wake of nationwide outrage over the brutal rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The girl from a nomadic Muslim herder family was grazing cattle when she was kidnapped in January. A week later, her raped and mutilated body was found.
According to police, the victim was held captive and raped for seven days inside a Hindu temple. All eight accused in the case are Hindu men, including 60-year-old Sanjhi Ram, the custodian of the temple.
Massive protests demanding justice for the girl have been held across India, including the commercial hub Mumbai and New Delhi. The movement picked up as Bollywood celebrities joined the campaign on social media, forcing two ruling party ministers to resign for publicly supporting the accused.
The incident has revealed the religious fault lines in India’s only Muslim majority state where a pro-independence movement since 1989 is brimming.
At present, the maximum punishment for aggravated sexual assault on minors under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act is life imprisonment.–AA

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