Protests against the Kathua rape case in Srinagar. (Photo: PTI/File)
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday said that a separate new law awarding capital punishment to those found guilty of raping minors will soon be introduced in the state. It said that the draft law is being prepared.
J&K has its own criminal code called Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not application in the state under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
Soon after the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, approved ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age, Syed Naeem Akhter, chief spokesman of the PDP-BJP government and works minister, said, "The draft law is being prepared".
He also said, "The government reiterates the commitment made by the Chief Minister to bring in a law that provides for stringent punishment to sex offenders, especially child rapists. Steps are envisaged also to ensure speedy trials and disposal of such cases."
Amid nationwide outrage against the alleged gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old nomad Bakarwal girl at Rasana in J&K’s Kathua district, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had on April 12 tweeted, "We will never ever let another child suffer in this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors, so that little A****’s case becomes the last."
She immediately got the opposition’s backing on the issue.
Former Chief Minister and president of National Conference (NC), the main opposition party also sought "strictest and most exemplary" punishment for the culprits of the Rasana incident and asked for convening a special session of the State Legislature to take up the issue.
He had said, "We demand a special legislative session so that it could, as announced earlier, propose a bill mandating the death penalty for such heinous crimes against children".
J&K has its own criminal code called Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not application in the State under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. However, the RPC was made on the lines of IPC prepared by Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Forensic Science Laboratory (DFSL) has confirmed that the vaginal swabs of the Kathua gangrape-and-murder victim matched with that of the accused. The legal experts say that the evidence is a jackpot for the Crime Branch of the J&K police which after investigating the case filed two separate charge sheets against the eight accused in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) at Kathua recently.
The official sources in winter capital Jammu said that the DFSL examined 14 packets of evidence — containing vaginal swabs, hair strands, blood samples of four accused, viscera of the victim, her frock and salwar, simple clay, and blood stained clay — sent to it between March 1 and 21.
A senior FSL official according to the report said the lab tested the samples and found them positive for rape. It also confirmed that the DNA samples of the accused matched those collected by the police.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mufti has welcomed the Union Cabinet’s decision saying it would go a long way in curbing the level of harassment against women and girl child in the country.
He also welcomed other stringent amendments brought in relevant laws by the Union Cabinet to ensure speedy investigation and trial of rape cases and administering deterrent punishments to the convicted.
She called for social mobilization to ensure deterrence to those who indulge in heinous crimes against women besides undertaking general awareness about respecting women and their rights and ensuring girls an environment free from harassment, coercion and crimes against them.
Mufti reiterated her resolve that her Government intends to bring similar laws in the state to put an end to crimes against women.