The Rajasthan Assembly on Friday passed a bill to award the death penalty to those who rape girls under 12 years of age. The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday, also stipulates that the minimum punishment for such rapists would be 14 years in jail.

Similar penalties have been introduced for those who gangrape girls under 12 years of age.

Rajasthan is the second state after Madhya Pradesh to make the rape of girls below 12 punishable by death. A similar bill is pending in the Haryana Assembly.

The Rajasthan government said it had introduced the amendment because crimes against children were on the rise in the state, News18 reported. “Such crimes are heinous and turn the life of the victim into hell,” read an official statement.

“It is the prime duty of the society and the state to protect its offspring against all odds and give them an environment conducive for their mental and physical development,” the statement added. “Therefore, such offences need to be dealt with with an iron hand.”