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Sexual abuse of kids: GoI mulling death penalty for convicts

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Srinagar, Apr 20: Government is actively considering amending the penal law to introduce death penalty to those convicted of sexually abusing children up to 12 years of age, the Supreme Court was informed on Friday.
The assertion of the Centre assumes significance following the public outcry for award of death penalty to such sexual offenders, including the assaulters of an 8-year-old girl who was gang raped and killed at Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir recently.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a PIL relating to the brutal rape of an 8-month-old child allegedly by her 28-year-old cousin, was given a copy of a letter by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narasimha to apprise it that the Law Ministry was contemplating changes in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.
The communication of a deputy secretary, addressed to the ASG, reads, “I am directed…to inform that the issues raised in the petition regarding amendment of provisions of the POCSO Act, 2012 so as to provide maximum punishment of death penalty for commission of offences of rape of children of 0-12 year of age group is under active consideration of the Ministry.
“The Ministry is sensitive to the plight of young children brutaly abused in the most horrific manner. The Ministry is proposing to amend the POCSO Act for introducing death penalty for the abuser in the cases of aggravated sexual assault against children.”
The ASG, however, had earlier opposed the submission of Alakh Alok Srivastava, who had filed the PIL in his personal capacity in the case, that sexual assaulters of children be sent to the gallows by saying that “death penalty is not the answer to everything”.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, took note of the Centre’s stand and fixed the PIL for hearing on April 27.
Srivastava had approached the top court after the horrific incident of rape of an 8-month girl child allegedly by her 28-year-old cousin on January 28 in a locality near Netaji Subhash Place in north-west Delhi had come to light.
The girl child had developed health conditions and underwent emergency corrective surgeries. The PIL had sought reliefs like proper medical care of the victim at AIIMS and award of Rs 10 lakh as interim compensation.
The plea has also sought the provision of death penalty in such cases and framing of guidelines that investigation and trial of cases involving rape of children below 12 years of age under POSCO Act, should be completed in six months from the date of registration of the FIR.
The top court, which had said it cannot direct Parliament to amend law, however, had asked the Centre to give details of pending cases of sexual assault against children across the country for taking a “national view” with an aim to figuring out how such trials could be fast-tracked.
The Centre had informed the court that the victim girl has been provided the due medical care and an FIR has been registered leading to arrest of her cousin who had already confessed to the crime before the police.
The police had said the accused had confessed to raping the baby under the influence of liquor.
The girl’s parents used to go out for work leaving their daughter in the custody of their sister-in-law. Since it was a Sunday, their sister-in-law’s son was at home, the police had said, adding that when the accused saw that his mother was not around, he allegedly forced himself on the baby.
When the girl’s mother returned home, she saw blood stains on the victim’s clothes and informed her husband, they said, adding she was rushed to a hospital where it was found that she had been sexually assaulted.


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Non-NC governments in J&K weakened State’s Special Status: Omar

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Beerwah, Jan 16 : Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that state’s special status was tampered with whenever NC remains away from the power corridors of the state.

While speaking to a gathering of party workers at a one day party convention in Beerwah constituency he said that non-NC governments in J&K have proved detrimental to the special status of state. “The basic structure of the state was entirely obliterated by the opportunistic forces that got a field day because of our absence. From 1953 to 1974, 37 amendments were made to the state constitution making a pale shadow of what it used to be before 1953,” he said.

Omar said the very identity of our state is facing an onslaught from all sides and the severity of the situation demands a strong mandated government of National Conference that will put up a strong front for safeguarding our special position. “Prime Minister Narender Modi insulted Late Mufti Syed in an open public platform. This would have impossible in a scenario if PDP had the numbers to run the government on its own. We have never seen such a thing happening in other states, where a sitting chief minister was publically humiliated,” he said adding that primary reason for that was a fractured mandate compounded with the fact that other alliance partners are always bound by central whip of party, which severely affects the working and maneuverability of government.

 

Omar said, “Coalition governments in J&K has proved detrimental to state’s interests and that the need of the hour is to have a strong nucleus to carry forward the agenda of peace, development and reconciliation.”

Among others Political Adviser to Omar Abdullah Tanvir Sadiq, Prof Abdul Majeed Mattoo, Muhammad Ibrahim Mir, Mirwaiz Central Kashmir Molvi Lateefullah, and Muhammad Amin Banday were also present on the occasion.

Omar asserted that National Conference is the only party with a clear road map to address internal and external dimensions of J&K.

Later Omar Abdullah visited many areas of the constituency amidst heavy snowfall. He made stopovers at various places where people apprised him about the issues concerning the constituency. He gave them a patient hearing and promised all possible help.

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Governor’s statement on Operation All Out far from reality: Joint Hurriyat

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Srinagar, Jan 16:Joint Hurriyat  comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has termed the recent assertions of Governor Satya Pal Malik that “there was nothing like Operation All-Out” as far from reality and truth and stated that Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat have time and again claimed that anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir were being carried out under “Operation All-Out.”

The leadership in a statement issued  asked, “If it isn’t Operation All Out then what term would Governor like to give to daily cordon and search operations (CASO) conducted in South, North and Central Kashmir even in such harsh winter when youth are chased and killed while homes are blown up, booking any Kashmiri including youth activists leaders under draconian PSAs and shifting them to jails in and outside the state, confining resistance leaders to homes or jails arbitrarily at will and curbing their space and to connect with people especially those that are killed. Even Kashmiri students studying outside are harassed and targeted”.

Joint Hurriyat said that there are footprints of Indian army and other forces in every nook and corner of the Valley and genuine dissent and people’s voice regarding their sentiment is muzzled forcibly while every peaceful political space and activity is barred or foiled by the state through its military might.

 

They said that resistance leadership is confined to their homes for months and years together and that the “ultimate repression” is on full display across Kashmir, especially since past three years. “In fact, an all-out assault has been launched on all fronts including the judiciary to quell people’s aspirations and challenge our very existence as a nation,” they said.

“Militarization of the valley and unbridled powers given to forces under black laws especially AFSPA is the main reason behind the worst form of state aggression in Kashmir,” the leaders said.

The leadership said that Rajnath Singh and General Bipin Rawats claim that 200 armed youth are active in Kashmir; seven lakh Indian soldiers are present here. “What justification is there to keep over seven lakh forces in Kashmir to fight this minuscule number, except exert control over people by force?”

Joint Hurriyat said as per the figures available with the resistance camp, 2018 witnessed worst ever rights violations in Kashmir in recent past as 355 armed youth and 161 civilians were killed. “If this isn’t that operation all-out, then what is it?” they asked.

The leadership said that in last year, 4524 civilians especially youth were injured with lethal pellets while as the eyesight of 724 youth was snatched as pellets ruptured their eyes. “How can GoI justify this all?” the leadership questioned.

It said that the GoI’s targeting of the state subject law and article 35-A in a series of petitions lodged in Supreme Court in a bid to change the disputed status of the State is another form of this operation.

Meanwhile, the leadership said that as the hearing in 35-A is slated for January in the Supreme Court, the JRL is in constant touch with various sections of society that includes civil society, traders, academics religious groups, political parties, employees and other sections and a joint program will be announced as the date for hearing is announced.

The leadership said that entire Kashmir in unison will fight every single bid aimed at changing the disputed nature and the demography of the Muslim majority state

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To protect JK’s identity, we have to remain united: Farooq Abdullah

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Srinagar, Jan 16: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday asserted that the choice of the people in the forth coming elections will decide their future.

While addressing a meet of party functionaries, workers at Barthana, Batamallo he said, “The state is faced with a critical situation. We are caught between devil and deep sea. And at this time the choice of the people will act as a pointer towards their future,” adding, “We have to show unity amongst ourselves to illustrate how passionate we are about our identity,” he said.

Asserting that there is no substitute to democracy and that in a democracy each life matters, he said, “People are yearning for development and peace. I am sure that with Omar in the forefront of the government, the state will be bequeathed with much needed peace and stability,” adding that safeguarding the interests of the state and its people forms the core of National Conference.

 

Dr Farooq also paid obeisance at the shrine of Shah Wali Sahab (RA). He prayed for peace and prosperity of the state.

General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, senior leader Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Central Secretary Irfan Ahmad Shah, District president Peer Afaq, Provincial Secretary Showkat Mir and Advisor to Dr Farooq Mushtaq Guroo were also present on the occasion.

Dr Farooq while addressing the workers, who had gathered there braving the chill and incessant snowfall said, “Sher-e-Kashmir always wanted India and Pakistan to live in bonhomie, and that they always wanted all the traditional road connections to be resumed for the benefit of divided families,” adding that National Conference has always been the votary of peace between India and Pakistan.

Dr Farooq sought support of people for ex MLA Batamaloo Irfan Shah. “Service and sacrifice has been the motto of our party and I believe the Irfan shah including our other party functionaries will continue to work for the people keeping in view with the legacy of the party and its founding members,” he said.

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