Amanat:Juvenile faces rape, murder charges;but no punishment

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New Delhi, Feb 28: Finally, charges against juvenile accused in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year paramedical student in the national capital last year have been framed.

On Thursday, a juvenile court framed rape and murder charges against the 6th accused, who claims to be a minor. Hearings of the case will start on March 6.

The sixth accused said to be the most brutal in the horrific gang-rape of the 23-year-old student in the national capital on Dec 16, 2012 is all likely to go scot-free. The sixth accused has been declared as a juvenile by juvenile justice board, based on his school certificate.

Protests

The sixth suspect, listed as a 17-year-old, will be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility. But police did not reveal juvenile's identity as it is against law.

In the wake of the brutal gang-rape and murder of the 23-year-old student, there is a growing demand for lowering the age of juvenile from 18 to 16.

However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home has decided against lowering the age of juveniles below 18 years of age despite suggestions by several members.

Moreover, Justice JS Verma panel set up by the government to form strict laws against sexual assault on women also declined to reduce the age of juvenile offenders.

The five accused, Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur have been chargesheeted for the offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code.

Currently, their trial is on at a special fast-track court in New Delhi. The sixth accused will be charged separately. Authorities have said they would push for the death penalty for the men. The victim's father said he supported the death penalty for all the six accused.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram during his budget presentation on Thursday announced Nirbhaya Fund. The special fund is to be utilised to ensure safety of women. A total of Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated towards the fund. The fund is named in honour of the 23-year-old paramedical student who died in the brutal gang-rape in the national capital.

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