India activists oppose tougher juvenile law

Child rights activists in India have voiced their opposition to a government plan to make changes in the juvenile justice law in the wake of rising sex attacks in the country.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has proposed the changes that will allow 16- to 18-year-old offenders in heinous crimes to be punished as adults, with the exception of the death penalty. Public support for harsher punishment has been growing since a gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old student by six people, one of them a 17-year-old boy in New Delhi.

There was outrage after the minor was sentenced to three years in a correctional facility, which is the maximum punishment under the juvenile justice law. Some even said that the minor deserved the death penalty, which was the sentence handed down to the convicted adults.

But Ved Kumari, an expert on the juvenile justice system, has said that non-governmental organisations which were counselling the youngest culprit, had found that he was not a violent person.”So whatever happened in that incident is an aberration in his life. That is not his life. That is not what he is,” Kumari told a press conference last week in New Delhi…read it at Al Jazeera.

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