JINFEI CHEN WRITES – According to New Delhi News, President Ram Nath Kovind has finally approved an ordinance to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses.
In recent years, the number of rapes among young minorities has increased dramatically. According to The Diplomat, reported rape cases climbed 60 percent, to around 40,000 cases across the country in 2016; of these, 19,765 were cases of child rape. This has raised the Indian cabinet’s awareness and led to the approval of the POCSO Act on April 21.
The ordinance includes the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12, and at least 10 years of imprisonment for rapists of girls below the age of 16. The minimum penalty for rapists of women has been increased to at least seven years of imprisonment. It has also given the country a six-month time limit to appeal old rape cases.
The ordinance was passed by leaders and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently leading the country. The decision was made in response to the violent rape of two minors in India. Right after the tragedy, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meeting. His BJP had to make this knee-jerk reaction to consolidate its political position as the leader of the entire country, not just the Hindu nation. In a case last year, one politician from BJP was accused of raping a 17- year-old girl. The girl’s father tried to seek legal aid but ended up dead in police custody. In another case, in January, an 8- year-old girl was abducted and raped over a week in Jammu. This is also one of the intolerable events that led to the adoption of the ordinance.
Protesters in India hope this act will “protect Indian daughters.” However, many commentators around the world point out that the ordinance may turn out to be ineffective, since India is not teaching its boys to behave well, in addition to the plague of a corrupt police system that almost always fails to enforce laws.