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Kathua rape-murder case: Maneka Gandhi calls for death penalty for rapists

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Friday spoke out against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kathua.

In a video shared by the ministry, a ‘deeply disturbed’ minister has called for amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and has even asked for death penalty on those convicted of raping minors. The video, however, has since been deleted from the YouTube page.

The minor, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from a spot near her house close to Rasana village in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir on January 10.

Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday announced to enact a new law to make rape of minors punishable by death.

“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 girl’s case becomes the last,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Earlier Mehbooba promised that the law will not be obstructed by the irresponsible actions and statements of a group of people.

“Proper procedures are being followed, investigations are on the fast track & justice will be delivered”, Mehbooba tweeted.

The Chief Minister broke her silence after former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah upped the ante and questioned Mehbooba for not sacking her two ministers who had joined the rally of Hindu Ekta Manch demanding CBI probe few months back.

Last month Jammu and Kashmir Forest Minister Chaudhary Lal Singh and Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga had joined the rally of Hindu Ekta Manch and supported their demand for CBI probe into the incident.

The issue also snowballed into a major controversy with three main parties – National Conference, Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – slugging it out on Twitter.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today described the rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua as “unimaginable brutality” that cannot go unpunished, and wondered how anybody can seek to protect the culprits.

He also lashed out at the politics being played over the crime.

“How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil,” he asked, adding that the violence against the child was a crime against humanity. “It cannot go unpunished,” he said on Twitter.

“What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child,” he tweeted.

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