The death penalty will soon be carried out to those convicted of raping a child under 12 years old in India. The development comes after the Prime Minister approved an executive order introducing the said capital punishment for child rapists.
The executive order also follows a public outcry over the latest sexual assaults to shock the Asian country.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened an emergency meeting on Saturday to approve said executive order that will effectively amend India’s criminal law.
The order will also compel the police to complete rape investigations within the span of two months and to extend maximum sentences for the rape of girls under 16 and women.
The order will also allow Modi to bypass parliament. For the law to take effect, it only needs to be signed by the Indian president.
In January, 8-year-old Asifa Bano from Kathua in the state of Jammu and Kashmir was abducted, drugged and raped in a small Hindu temple. The girl was later found murdered by a rock five days later. The girl was a member of a nomadic Muslim tribe.
A BJP member of the Uttar Pradesh state parliament named Kuldeep Singh Sengar last week was arrested after he and his brother were accused of raping a 15-year-old girl. The family tried unsuccessfully for months to register a case with police for months. Horrifically, the girl tried to burn herself alive outside of the chief minister’s residence. Her father died in police custody the next day.
Modi came under pressure after the said two high-profile cases as he failed to address either attack for several days running that triggered public anger. Critics of the government also point out that too little had been done to protect women from sexual assaults and abuses.
Not everyone is in favor of the new development, however. Some including Amnesty International said the order was a knee-jerk reaction that “diverts attention from the poor implementation of laws on rape and child protection.”
The organization argues that according to studies, most perpetrators are known to child victims. Asmita Basu from Amnesty International-India then said: “Introducing the death penalty in such circumstances will only silence and further endanger children. “
India is also contending with court cases dragging on for decades because of a grave shortage of judges. More than 1.6 million criminal cases, in fact, have been pending for more than a decade now.