The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a bill that awards death penalty to rapists who assault minors aged 12 or below, ANI reported. The move comes a week after the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approved amendments to the Public Safety Bill.
The bill will now be sent to the Centre and President Ram Nath Kovind for approval. The bill proposes death penalty or a minimum of 14-year jail term or life imprisonment for those convicted of raping 12-year-old children or below. The bill also proposes strict punishment for stalking, disrobing or sex on the pretext of marriage, The Indian Express reported.
“Those who rape innocent young girls are not humans but demons,” Chouhan said in the state Assembly, according to ANI. “They do not have a right to live.” The chief minister further said repeated stalking will be a non-bailable offence and will be awarded harsh punishment.
The decision comes after the National Crime Records Bureau’s latest report, released on November 30, revealed that Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of rape cases in 2016. Of the total 38,947 cases of rape reported in the country in 2016, Madhya Pradesh alone accounted for 4,882 cases.
On November 3, four men were arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year old woman, a civil service aspirant, on the night of October 31 when she was returning home after a coaching class.