Kathua horror: Maneka to seek death penalty for rapists of kids
13 April 2018
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said today that her ministry would appeal for the death penalty under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for those who rape children below 12 years of age.
A "deeply, deeply disturbed" Maneka Gandhi made the comment in a video released today amid widespread horror at the gang rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua as well as attempts communalise the incident, and another rape in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
"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," said Maneka, adding that her ministry will bring a cabinet note to this effect on Monday.
The POCSO Act, 2012 was framed to protect children from offenses of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography and to provide a child-friendly system for the trial of these offences.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also said on Thursday that her government would enact a law to make rape of minors punishable by death. “We will never ever let another child suffer in this way,” she tweeted.
Another Union minister, V K Singh, also tweeted his horror at the Kathua atrocity. “We have failed Ashifa (sic) as humans. But she will not be denied justice,” Singh tweeted on Thursday.
Asifa, who was from a nomad Muslim community, was held captive, sedated and raped for several days at a temple before she was murdered at Rassana village in Kathua district, according to the J&K Police crime branch investigation based on DNA test, forensic evidence and post-mortem report.
The body of the eight-year-old was recovered from Rassana forest on 17 January, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses in the area. The state government handed over the case to the crime branch following massive protests in the state.
The accused, including alleged mastermind Sanji Ramthe, his son Vishal, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, two Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and civilian Parvesh Kumar, were booked under Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Ranbir Penal Code.