The Haryana Assembly on Thursday passed a bill seeking to give capital punishment to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 years or below, ANI reported. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the law would prove to be a “milestone” in protecting the girl child.

The state Cabinet had approved a proposal on February 27 to enact the law and to make existing laws related to sexual offences more stringent.

The bill amends provisions under Section 376 (rape), Section 354 (assault or criminal force against woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and Section 354D (2) (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code.

The government had proposed death penalty or rigorous imprisonment for at least 14 years for a person convicted of raping a girl aged 12 or below.

In January, the Haryana government was severely criticised after five incidents of sexual assault were reported in the state in five days.

Rajasthan passed a similar law on March 9, and Madhya Pradesh in December 2017.