Lok Sabha waters down anti-rape bill even as rapists unleash violence against tourists

The Lok Sabha today passed the anti-rape bill amidst an orgy of violence against women, with criminals in Madhya Pradesh raping a Swiss women after beating up her husband, and a  UK woman fractured her leg as she jumped off her hotel room balcony in Agra while trying to escape a sexual assault bid by the hotel owner.

During voting on amendments to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Lok Sabha, however, rejected an amendment seeking to make first-time stalking a non-bailable offence.

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, however, clarified that stalking is bailable only for first timers; and non-bailable for repeat offenders.

The House also voted against life imprisonment for child trafficking and also voted against increasing jail sentence for those convicted of child trafficking to 20 years.

The Lok Sabha also voted against life imprisonment for perpetrators of acid attack incidents.

The bill provides for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including full-life term or even death in case of perpetual offenders.

Besides, the amended bill prescribes various penalties for stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.

It, however, maintained the age for consensual sex at 18 years.

Only 168 MPs were present in the Lok Sabha when the bill was passed.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, that seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated on 3 February, was diluted amidst continuing incidents of violence against women and children across the country.

On Tuesday, a 25-year-old UK woman jumped off a hotel room in Agra to save herself from an alleged sexual assault bid, suffering a leg fracture.

This comes close on the heels of the gangrape of a Swiss tourist in Madhya Pradesh. The criminals also beat up her husband.