Kathua rape-murder: Mehbooba Mufti government approves ordinance on death penalty for child rapists in Jammu and Kashmir

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New Delhi | Published: April 24, 2018 4:30:15 PM

The Jammu and Kashmir govt on Tuesday approved an ordinance relating to the protection of children from sexual violence which provides death penalty or life imprisonment for those found guilty of sexually abusing children up to the age of 12 years.

(Image: ANI)

Amid an uproar over the case of rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday approved an ordinance relating to the protection of children from sexual violence. The ‘Criminal Law Ordinance 2018’, which amends the Criminal Law Ordinance 2018, now provides for death penalty or life imprisonment for those found guilty of sexually abusing children up to the age of 12 years. The punishment for sexual offences against women between 13 to 60 years has also been enhanced to 20 years or life imprisonment.

Speaking to news agency ANI, state Rural Development Minister Abdul Hak Khan said, “Under, J&K Protection of Children from Sexual Violence 2018, death penalty/ life imprisonment for sexual offences against children up to the age of 12. Investigation of cases to be completed within two months and trial to be completed in six months.”

“By the means of an ordinance we have brought an amendment to Criminal Law Ordinance 2018 which will enhance punishment to 20 years/ life imprisonment for sexual offences against women under 13 to 60 years,” Khan told news agency ANI.

The ordinance will come into force once it receives the assent of Governor N N Vohra.

The move comes after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on April 21 praised Centre’s ordinance which awarded death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. Speaking to news agency PTI on Saturday, Mufti had said that her governments will bring a similar law in the state. “This will go a long way in curbing the level of harassment against women and girl child in the country,” Mehbooba had said.

Amid protests over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Jammu’s Kathua district, on April 12, the Chief Minister had said that her government will enact a new law which will allow the death penalty for raping minors.

The body of an eight year old Bakarwal girl was recovered from a forest in the district on January 17, a week after she went missing in the forest area. On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence. Later, the team had also arrested a juvenile in the case.

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