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A child is a child, there is no Hindu or Muslim in that: Kathua rape victim’s father on Centre's nod to amend POCSO Act

The father of Kathua rape and murder victim has expressed hope that his child will now get justice after the Union Cabinet gave its nod to amend the POSCO Act.

A child is a child, there is no Hindu or Muslim in that: Kathua rape victim’s father on Centre's nod to amend POCSO Act
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New Delhi: The father of an eight-year-old girl who was brutally tortured, raped and killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district recently has expressed hope that the Union Cabinet's nod to amend the existing Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act will ensure stringent punishment to those convicted for raping minors.

Though he did not understand the nitty-gritty of the decision taken by the Union Cabinet, he remained hopeful that the situation will eventually improve.

''We are simple people, we do not know the nitty-gritty of the decisions that the central government takes but whatever they're doing is good, we are hopeful for justice,'' he said.

''A child is a child there is no Hindu or Muslim in that, the father of the Kathua rape victim said when asked what he felt about the Centre's decision to bring an ordinance to amend the POCSO Act in view of demands for a death penalty to child rapists.

In view of rising public anger and protests against a sudden spurt in the child rape cases from across the country, the Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday approved an ordinance on the death penalty for those convicted of raping children below the age of 12.

The decision came a day after the Ministry of Women and Child Development informed the Supreme Court that it was proposing the death penalty for those convicted of raping children.

The Ministry had told the top court that the government was "sensitive to the plight of young children" brutally abused in the most horrific manner and proposed to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by introducing the death penalty to the convicts of child rapes.

The Union Cabinet move came in the backdrop of nationwide outrage over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, and other similar instances in different parts of the country, including a nine-year-old girl in Surat.

The POCSO Act was formulated in order to effectively address the incidents of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Law Minister Abdul Haq Khan today assured that the investigation into the horrific Kathua rape case was on right track and those found guilty will not be spared.

''The investigation into the Kathua rape case has been done very professionally. Not only the district court but also the Supreme Court is looking into the matter. This case will be treated as a fast track case. The culprits will be punished,'' Khan was quoted as saying by ANI.

In a related development, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari on Saturday advised students protesting over the Kathua rape and murder case to control their emotions and resume their classes.

"After the Kathua incident, we gave the students a chance to vent their emotions. Students should control their emotions and now go back to their classes," the Bukhari said.

The Minister said Kashmir cannot afford a generation of illiterates and urged everybody to help ensure that students resume academic activities.

He warned that if the present situation continued the state government would be forced to close down educational institutions. 

"The security of students is our paramount concern. That is why we close schools and colleges," he added.

Kashmir has been on the boil and witnessed spiralling student protests in the past month or so to seek justice for the Kathua rape and murder victim who went missing in Rasana village and was found dead a week later.

(With Agency inputs)