Will death sentence for rape stop the crime?
Even as an emotionally charged nation calls for capital punishment and castration for rape, saner voices caution that death sentence has not stopped people from committing murder
The clamour for death penalty to rapists of children has been growing in the wake of the brutal rape of an eight-year old in Kathua and the rape of a teenager below 18 in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. On Sundayeven industrialist Anand Mahindra gave vent to his disgust and declared that he felt like volunteering for the job of the executioner.
Mahindra tweeted, “The job of executioner is not an aspirational job. But for the execution of brutal rapists & murderers of young girls I would volunteer unhesitatingly. I work hard to stay calm, but my blood boils over to see this happen in our country.
Saner voices have counselled caution and pointed out that though there is provision of capital punishment for murder, the crime continues to be committed.
But Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has already indicated that her ministry is exploring the possibility of making relevant changes in POCSO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences) Act, which provides for a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life.
National Conference President Farooq Abdullah also demanded a special Jammu and Kashmir Assembly session to pass a bill to hand out capital punishment to those convicted of raping minors."The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which are in power in the state, should convene a special session to pass the bill," the Lok Sabha MP said.
"It is only by awarding capital punishment to perpetrators of such heinous crime that incidents like Kathua rape and murder can be prevented from occurring in future," the former J& K Chief Minister said. Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has also indicated that Jammu and Kashmir will soon pass a bill to award death sentence to those who rape minors.
An indefinite hunger strike by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal entered the third day on Sunday in support of death penalty for rapists.Maliwal launched the protest at Rajghat on Friday in wake of the rape incidents in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao and Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua districts.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, the DCW chief said: "I will not break my anshan (fast) until the Prime Minister does not (promise) the country a better system for the safety of our daughters."The protest saw a large number of women and children participating, urging the authorities to implement stricter anti-rape laws in the country.
The Commission had observed a month-long satyagraha in February demanding fast-track courts and stricter laws for those accused of raping minors.