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'Will amend POCSO Act to bring death penalty for rape of minors': Maneka Gandhi

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    Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Friday called for amendments in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and demanded death penalty on those convicted of raping minors.

    Maneka Gandhi

    In a video shared by the ministry, she said she was "deeply, deeply" disturbed by the Kathua rape case. Her ministry would move a cabinet note on Monday to amend POCSO, the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, she said.

    Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday announced to enact a new law to make rape of minors punishable by death.

    "We will never ever let another child suffer in this way. We will bring a new law that will make the death penalty mandatory for those who rape minors, so that little girl's case becomes the last," Mehbooba tweeted.

    The 8-year-old was abducted, raped and murdered in Rassana village in Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district in January. The body of the girl, from the Bakarwal community, was recovered from Rassana forest in Kathua on 17 January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

    The Jammu and Kashmir Police had filed an FIR against lawyers of Jammu who tried to prevent Crime Branch officers from filing a charge sheet in a court on Monday in connection with the Kathua rape and murder case.

    The chargesheet was filed amid protests by a group of lawyers who attempted to stop crime branch officials from framing charges. Eight people, including two special police officers, have been arrested in connection with the crime.

    The crime has triggered communal tension in the state, with many lawyers in Hindu-dominated Jammu region protesting against police and demanding a CBI probe.

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