In what's a big story, India's union minister for Women and Child welfare, Maneka Gandhi has demanded death penalty for the rapists of Asifa. She has offered to change POCSO act to bring death penalty for Kathua rapists. Her Ministry will change the POCSO Act, ‘will add death penalty for rapists of minors’.
Asifa's rape has captured the conscience of the Indian people. 8 year old was repeated raped inside the prayer hall of a temple in Kathua after the child was sedated with drugs.
Maneka Gandhi said she was 'deeply disturbed' by the murder and rape of 8 year old Asifa in Kathua near Jammu. "I have been deeply, deeply disturbed by the rape case in Kathua and all the recent rape cases that have happened on children. I and the ministry intend to bring an amendment to the POCSO Act asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years," said Maneka Gandhi.
Asifa's rape has captured the conscience of the Indian people. 8 year old was repeated raped inside the prayer hall of a temple in Kathua after the child was sedated with drugs. Those allegedly accused include two policemen, one politician and his nephew and other connected parties. The details of the rape and murder are chilling. Read the full chargesheet here. Another rape case in Unnao of a teenage girl took to headlines after her father was beaten to death in custody for asking the UP Chief Minister to react to his plight.
Politicians and police are the central characters of these rape cases. SheThePeople has been reporting and raising questions on how rape cases are handled in India. "This to me deserves all the country’s undivided attention. People who are voted in. People who are to protect us. This is murder of democracy. It’s a murder of trust that we put in our country’s law making. There are so many things that outrage one’s common sense and belief in the system," said Shaili Chopra, journalist and founder of SheThePeople, in article earlier.
Questions have been raised at leaders irrespective of political parties for why they are staying silent. Why the country's politicians not joining up to call our the murders? "We shouldn’t politicise rape but we should hold people and parties in power and ideologies that propagate this culture accountable," said youth activist Gurmehar Kaur.
Pooja Taparia, founder, Arpan, says, "Death penalty is a bad idea. There are no pros to it. It's only cons. Some states have already bought it in and I think it'll only lead to lesser disclosures by children because when they know their trusted adult will be given death they will turn hostile. No child will want death for their father, uncles, etc.
Even if we speak to the judges they are currently struggling to even convict people to 7-10 years of imprisonment because POCSO has taken away their discretion. They are not wanting to give severe punishment and hence that is resulting in lesser conviction. Research of POCSO cases is showing that. If we make death penalty for rape then there'll hardly be any conviction at all because no judge would want to give the death penalty. All of this will lead to acquittals and hence no punishment, no justice for the victim."
The nation is standing up to ask when and how will justice be met out in such case. The country is outraged and asking for the severest of all punishments in such cases. Punishments that actually are given.