In the aftermath of the outrage over the horrific gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, the Union Cabinet on Saturday, April 21, approved promulgation of an Ordinance providing for death penalty to rapists of girls below 12 years of age, said media reports citing government sources.
There was no official statement from the government on the press information bureau website which mentioned some other decisions taken by the Cabinet.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance provides for stringent punishment of a jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of a girl under 12 years, said a report by The Hindu.
The report added: for the crime of a rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, which is expandable to imprisonment for rest of life; minimum punishment in case of rape of women has also been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
There will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.
Existing provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act provide for life imprisonment, though after the Nirbhaya case in 2012 the Centre had introduced the death penalty in cases where a woman either dies or is left in a vegetative state after rape.
The Ordinance also provides for speedy investigation and trial which needs to be compulsorily completed within two months. New fast track courts will be set up in consultation with States/UTs and High Courts for speedy trial of rape cases.
The ordinance is being initiated to enforce the amendment immediately before a bill is introduced and passed by Parliament in its next session. After the case of the eight-year-old Kathua victim, other instances, such as in Surat where a nine-year-old was raped and killed, added urgency to the government’s actions.
Earlier, in the wake of the Kathua rape and murder case, Union minister Maneka Gandhi had said that her ministry will bring an amendment in the POCSO Act on death penalty for rape of children below 12 years of age while Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has assured that that her government will bring a “new law” on the same lines.
“The Ministry of Women and Child Development intends to bring an amendment in POCSO Act asking for death penalty for rape on children below 12 years of age,” Maneka had said in a video message.
Chhattisgarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hits out at Congress, accuses party of dividing Hindus
PM Modi quoted his predecessor PM Manmohan Singh and said the minorities had the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi added Congress is now saying the population of the community will decide who will have the first right to the country’s resources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed Congress after the Bihar government’s caste census results were declared. He said the Congress party is dividing the Hindus as the poor people formed the largest part of the population. PM Modi was addressing a rally in Poll bound Chhattisgarh Jagdalpur
PM Modi quoted his predecessor PM Manmohan Singh and said the minorities had the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi added Congress is now saying the population of the community will decide who will have the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi asked if the Congress party wanted to decrease the rights of the minority. He further inquired whether the Congress party wanted to remove the minorities.
PM Modi continued to his attack on the Congress and asked whether the Hindus who formed the largest section of India’s population come forward and take their rights. PM Modi further added the Congress party is not run by its people and has been outsourced. He said senior Congress leaders did not have their say in the decisions made by the Congress party.
PM Modi said the Congress party is trying to divide the Hindus. He added the Congress party is dividing the poor. They are trying to destroy the country. PM Modi slammed the Congress party for playing with the emotions of the poor. He added the Congress party has divided India on the basis of caste lines for sixty years.
The Bihar government released the findings of its caste census. According to the survey extremely Backward classes (EBC’s) and other backward classes (OBC’s) constitute 63 percent of total population of Bihar. The Congress party has promised a caste based census in the country if it came to power at the Centre.
India-Canada ties: India asks Canada to withdraw 40 diplomats by October 10
Canada has currently a total of 62 diplomats in India. New Delhi has instructed Canada to decrease the number to 41 at their high commission.
India has asked Canada to withdraw around 40 diplomats by October 10 as the diplomatic row between the two nations over Ottawa’s allegations of New Delhi’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. According to reports India has threatened to remove the diplomatic immunity of any candian diplomat if they remained in India after October 10.
Canada has currently a total of 62 diplomats in India. New Delhi has instructed Canada to decrease the number to 41 at their high commission. Boehm said PM Justin Trudeau does not expect to back down. He added India sees Canada as an easy mark. He said India is aware of Ottawa’s limited capacity to retaliate because of the presence of a minority government in Canada.
Trudeau is the leader of the Liberal Party. He shares power with Canadian Sikh leader and Indian origin Jagmeet Singh who is the head of the New Democratic Party in Canada. India had previously said it wanted an equal number of diplomats posted in the country and Canada. At the High commission in Delhi Canada has many diplomats compared to what India has in Ottawa.
Diplomatic crisis between Canada and India emerged after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said the Canadian agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegation of a potential link the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the Indian government. India had stated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. India rejected Canada’s allegations and called them motivated and absurd.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). He was shot dead outside a Gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada in the month of June. Ottawa expelled an Indian official over the case. India in response expelled a Canadian diplomat. Visa services were also expelled by the Indian government for Canadian citizens.
Earthquake of 6.2 magnitude on Richter scale shakes up Delhi-NCR, North India
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks.
Strong tremors lasting almost a minute rocked parts of Delhi-National Capital Region, and several northern states after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake at its epicentre hit Nepal.
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high-rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks. Similar sights were visible in the region’s office districts. The tremors were also felt in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand just after 2.45 pm. According to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority website, “Delhi is located in zone IV which has fairly high seismicity where the general occurrence of earthquakes is of 5-6 magnitude, a few of magnitude 6-7 and occasionally of 7-8 magnitude. Delhi thus lies among the high-risk areas.” The site adds that Delhi and the union territory region has already seen five earthquakes of the 5.5 to 6.7 scale since 1720.
There has been no report of damage to life and property as of now and reports are awaited on the situation in Nepal. Seismologists said the epicentre was 5 km underground in Bhatekhola in Nepal. The Himalayan country has already faced a massive quake on April 25, 2015 of 7.8 magnitude. Some 9,000 people died and injured more than 20,000.
According to the National German Research Centre for Geo sciences has said that magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Nepal region. According to National Siesmological Centre an earthquake measuring 5.3 magnitude hit western parts of Nepal. No loss of property or life has been reported.
The earthquake was recorded with epicenter at Talkot area of Bajhang district, 700 km west of Kathmandu. Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.6 and 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted Nepal. The two tremors were felt within half an hour time. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya came out of Nirman Bhawan with others, as strong tremors hit different parts of North India.