Here's why India has approved the use of the death penalty for child rapists

Edduin Carvajal
Jan 18, 2019
03:22 P.M.
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After dealing with some high-profile rape cases involving children, India’s Cabinet approved the introduction of the death penalty for criminals who commit such offenses.


One of the aspects for which Indian’s government had been criticized the most over the years is not doing enough to prevent sexual-assault cases. The worst part of it is that some of them involved children under the age of 12.

Rape has always been a serious problem in India. In 2016, almost 19,000 sexual-assault cases were reported – more than 50 per day.


After several nationwide protests requesting a change, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi introduced the death penalty for rapists of girls under the age of 12.

Apart from that, the law forces the police to complete rape-related investigations in less than two months, as well as extend the maximum sentenced for the rape of girls under 16 and women.

It is important to point out that the law does not mention boys, reported Reuters.

Modi was in the middle of the storm for a while regarding sexual-assault crimes due to two high-profile cases where members of his rightwing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were either directly involved or tried to prevent police investigations.



The first victim was Asifa Bano, an eight-year-old girl from Kathua who was kidnapped in January 2018. The criminals drugged and raped her in a small Hindu temple. Five days later, they killed Bano with a rock.

After investigating, the police tried to arrest the temple custodian named Sanji Ram, as well as seven other men, but some officers and a state minister of BJP got together a group of protesters to confront the police.



The second victim was a 15-year-old lady. In her case, Kuldeep Singh Sengar (also a member of BJP) and his brother were arrested and accused of the crime.

The lady’s family tried to file a report with police right after the incident happened with no success. They were ignored for months.

Desperate, the girl tried to burn herself alive in front of the minister’s residence. The next day, her father died while in police custody. Unfortunately, those were not the only high-profile rape cases.

In 2016, almost 19,000 sexual-assault cases were reported – more than 50 per day.



In 2012, a student who was traveling with her boyfriend on a bus in Delhi was attacked and raped. 13 days later, she passed away.

Even though that case led to some changes in the laws and multiple protests, such sexual assaults continued. The death penalty is not something new in India, however, it is highly unusual, and it had never been implemented before with rape cases.

The principal method of execution they use is hanging, but the last person who faced such a fate was a man convicted for financing the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings. He died in 2015.



On a similar note, three men were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in jail for kidnapping, raping, and killing Hannah Cornelius, a South African student.

Geraldo Parsons, 27, and Vernon Witbooi, 33, were sentenced to a total of 50 years behind bars. Eben van Niekerk, 28, will spend 58 years in prison.

A fourth accomplice, Nashville Julius, 29, was also sentenced to 22 years in jail.

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