See More on Facebook

Analysis, News, Politics

India approves death penalty for child rapists

After facing flak both at home and abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meeting of the Cabinet which endorsed death for child rapists.


Written by

Updated: April 23, 2018

India’s cabinet has approved the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12 following public outrage over a series of sexual assaults on minors.

The horrific gangrape and cold-blooded murder of an eight-year-old Muslim shepherd girl, allegedly to drive her nomadic tribe out of a township, and the rape of an 18-year-old girl, allegedly by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, drove Indians tired of the rising crimes against women on to the streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delayed reaction to the issue – he is otherwise quick to react to developments – led to widespread protests and outrage on social media.

On April 21, Modi held an emergency meeting where the move was approved by the Cabinet. The executive order, known as an ordinance, will become law after President Ram Nath Kovind signs it.

The Cabinet also okayed measures for stronger punishment and speedy trials in rape cases. In cases of the rape of a girl below the age of 16, the Cabinet increased the minimum punishment to 20 years from 10 years. The penalty for the rape of women was also raised to 10 years from the earlier seven years.

However, media reports said there was no mention of the rape of boys or men.

India isn’t perceived as a safe country for women. In 2016, the country recorded 106 rapes a day. A large number of those raped were girls in the age group of 0 to 12 years. In 94.6 per cent of cases, the offenders were known to the victims.

Modi has been facing flak for being unable to make the country any safer for women – even though when he was seeking votes as a prime ministerial candidate in 2014, women’s safety was one of his major poll planks.

Modi, who was in Europe last week, was greeted by angry protesters holding placards asking him to make India safe for women. The Wire reported that Modi drew rare international criticism at the diplomatic level when Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, publicly demanded that he do more to ensure the safety of women and girls in India.

With a general election due next year, Modi called the Cabinet meeting to undo the damage.

The last time India united against growing violence against women was when a paramedic student was brutally gangraped in a moving bus in Delhi. She later succumbed to her injuries. The four men convicted in the case have been sentenced to death.

Women’s groups have not been demanding death for rapists, but want the government to strengthen the investigation and prosecution process so that the guilty are convicted. They argue that a death penalty does not guarantee the stopping of gruesome rapes, in fact it may lead to the killing of victims.

However, the head of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, was on a hunger strike demanding death for child rapists. She ended her 10-day strike calling the ordinance “historic”.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, News, Politics

Jokowi: World leaders congratulate me

Joko Widodo offers rebuke to victory claims from the opposition. In a subtle rebuke to his rival’s repeated victory declaration, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Thursday evening that more than 13 state leaders had congratulated “all Indonesians, as well as Jokowi and Ma’ruf” for the success of the general election on April 17. He was referring to his running mate Ma’ruf Amin. “From noon to late afternoon I have received calls from Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as Turkish President Erdogan. Ten other [state leaders] have conveyed their congratulations for the big democracy celebration in our country, including the legislative election. They congratulated all Indonesians, as well as Jokowi and Ma’ruf for the success of the general election on April 17,” Jokowi said on Thursday. At no point in his speech o


By The Jakarta Post
April 19, 2019

Analysis, News, Politics

Prabowo declares victory, again

The former military man claims poll win. Presidential contender Prabowo Subianto declared victory again over the incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday evening — but this time, he was not alone. He proclaimed victory alongside his running mate Sandiaga Uno, Democratic Party secretary general Hinca Pandjaitan and National Mandate Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais, who had all been absent during Prabowo’s first declaration on Wednesday evening. “I declare victory along with Sandiaga Uno as president and vice president for the 2019-2024 period based on [our lead of] 64 percent of the vote in the real count that we have recapitulated,” Prabowo said. His supporters who packed the team’s basecamp on Jl. Kertanegara in South Jakarta cheered loudly and shouted his name. Prabowo also asked his supporters to shout Allahu Akbar 


By The Jakarta Post
April 19, 2019

Analysis, News, Politics

Jokowi calls for unity after bitter election battle

Both sides have claimed victory in the last 24 hours. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on members of the public to reunite as brothers and sisters following the bitterly contested presidential election that again pitted him against his old rival, Prabowo Subianto. Speaking before a crowd of supporters and journalists in Djakarta Theatre, Jokowi also called on all parties to wait for the official final tally of the General Elections Commission (KPU), despite quick count results showing he was leading the presidential race. The President said he and members of his coalition had learned the results of various exit polls and quick counts of the presidential election by Wednesday afternoon. “However, we have to be patient and wait for the official recapitulation of votes by the KPU,” Jokowi said. The majority of quick count results conducted by established pollsters have shown


By The Jakarta Post
April 18, 2019

Analysis, News, Politics

In Indonesia, a nation of voters won’t be swayed

Change no longer the rallying cry in Indonesia. When Joko Widodo first ran for president in 2014, Indonesia was in the mood for change. Everything about Mr Joko then was about hope and change: his path to power, his man-of-the-people image, his focus on services. A businessman selling furniture in Solo, he was not part of the Jakarta political elite and triumphed at the polls as an outsider candidate. Leaving aside whether Mr Joko has delivered on his promises or what one might think about his opponent Prabowo Subianto, what is striking today is that change is the furthest thing from voters’ minds. If the projections from the pollsters hold up, then the results of 


By The Straits Times
April 18, 2019

Analysis, News, Politics

Prabowo is unlikely to go down without a fight

Jokowi calls on voters to unite as opposition claims victory. Quick counts show the incumbent Mr Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin in the lead in Indonesia’s presidential election, but their opponent Prabowo Subianto is unlikely to go down without a fight. Mr Prabowo has maintained that exit polls conducted by his team at more than 5,000 polling stations point to him and his running mate Sandiaga Uno winning the presidential election. In a quick address to the media, as well as supporters who broke out into chants of “President”, he said they had bested Mr Joko, winning more than 50 per cent of the vote. He cited instances of voting booths opening at 11am instead of 7am, and cast doubt on the impartiality of so


By The Straits Times
April 18, 2019

Analysis, News, Politics

Profile: Priyanka Gandhi

A look at a complicated legacy and a possible game changer in India’s political scene. Earnest political activists and regular folk alike will tell you the media fascination with Priyanka Gandhi, 47, is about exotica and dynasty. But when it comes to the latest scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family to enter politics, they may even be right. But there’s no denying the mass appeal, albeit diminishing over the past decade, of India’s most true-blue political dynasty. Jawahar Lal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi all served as Prime Ministers of India. Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi was the longest-serving president of the Congress Party till she handed over the baton to her son, Rahul Gandhi. And his younger sister, Priyanka, whom he inducted into the party as general secretary in January this year, epitomises the dynasty in all its courage and foibles, sacr


By Ishan Joshi
April 18, 2019