According to an announcement from the government of India, the death penalty will soon be imposed upon those convicted of raping a child who is under 12 years of age.
An ordinance was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the cabinet. That ordinance will allow the death penalty in order to combat a rise in crime—including sexual violence crimes.
According to Indian media, the ordinance has been sent to the President.
While there are a number of crimes punishable by death in India, executions are rarely carried out. There were only three in the last decade. Typically, hanging is the main method of execution.
PM @NarendraModi delivers on his promise of justice to every daughter of India. Approves an ordinance giving death penalty to child rapists. Also ensures, stringent punishment be meted out to perpetrators of rape, particularly girls below 16 years. #DeathForChildRapists
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) April 21, 2018
Within six months, parliamentary approval is required in order for the ordinance to actually become law; however, those suspected of a crime can be prosecuted in the meantime using the approved ordinance.
The decisive action of the government against crimes against children has a lot to do with extensive outrage over a recent rape and murder of a young girl in Jammu-Kashmir state; the girl was only eight years old.
At first, protestors were angry at the country’s ruling Hindu nationalist party. The party initially sided with the accused in the case. The accused are Hindus. The victim was Muslim.
The public has also condemned other rape cases involving young females, including one in Uttar Pradesh.
9 suspects, including four police officials and an MP, have been arrested in two recent cases in Jammu-Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.
These cases in India demonstrate a wider, more prevalent problem regarding sexual abuse towards women in the country.
According to recently compiled data, sexual crimes against minors are rising. They have increased fivefold, from about 19,000 in 2006 to over 100,000 in 2016.
While the government of India is trying to combat sexual crimes via tough laws, violent crime against women in the country has also been rising.
The fatal gang rape of a woman in New Delhi in 2012 resulted in mass protests. Stricter rape laws were demanded.
The new laws doubled the prison terms for rape; they also criminalized the trafficking of women, stalking, and voyeurism.
Parliament members also voted to reduce the age at which a person can be tried as an adult. It was 18, but now it is 16.
As India debates death penalty for rapists, just wish to mention dat about 33% of reported cases of rape in India are filed against boyfriend/live-in partners/husband under “Rape on false promise of Marriage”
Many of these accused get convicted, later acquitted from higher court
— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) April 19, 2018
Abha Singh, the well-known lawyer and social activist, said that she hopes the new proposal will deter men from committing atrocious crimes against women.
She also suggested that the government should set a timeframe in regard to bringing suspects to justice. She does not want the process to be a long one, as that may deter victims from coming forward about what happened to them.
Indian courts are well known for their long delays; according to some reports, there are at least 30 million cases pending.
In India—according to Singh—the conviction rate in cases of rape is only 28 percent.
Rape is believed to be the fourth most common crime against Indian women. Almost 25,000 cases were reported in 2012, and roughly 98 percent of the rapes were committed by a person known to the victim.
Many rapes go unreported in India—as is sadly the case in the rest of the world. Victims of rape typically fear humiliation and retaliation. It has been estimated that only five to six percent of rapes in the country are actually reported to law enforcement.
Marital rape in India is also an issue, as it is not currently considered a crime. That may change in the future, of course, but for the time being the law is what it is. It is only a crime if the partners are legally separated.
Obviously, rape is a problem throughout the world, not just in India. For example, in the United States, over 67,000 women were raped in 2012. There were about 12,000 male victims. Over 8 million women have experienced rape before the age of 18 according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).
In the United Kingdom, sexual violence and rape is believed to be one of the most underreported crimes.