India's in the throes of violent crimes where assault videos are sold and young girls harmed. Cases of assault and murder against girl children have shown an alarming increase. This prompted the Indian parliament to amend the IPC to enhance the maximum punishment to death in case of gruesome crimes of assault and murder of children. Last year, an eight-year-old Muslim girl was kidnapped in Kathua in Indian-administered Kashmir by Hindu men and confined to a temple without food and water for days and systematically violated in body and spirit.

She was ultimately done to death and the case came to light only when the girl's parents who are nomadic Muslims launched a frantic search and approached the police.

The case created a furor all over the world. Unfortunately, the incident took a communal color and the Hindu revivalist party, the BJP came out in support of the accused and two ministers of the J&K cabinet supported the criminals with meetings and agitation commenced in their favor. The central government and the Supreme Court acted with alacrity and transferred the case outside the state of Kashmir to Punjab.

CNN international has now reported that the trial court has found six main accuseds guilty and sentenced three of them to life in prison while three others have been awarded a five-year jail term for "destruction of evidence."

Communal divide

The murder and assault of the young girl who was only eight have once again highlighted the pathetic system of justice in India. Crimes have a communal cover and the Hindu -Muslim divide is out in the open.

The BBC reported when the girl's elder sister, who is 15 was questioned about how she felt, she replied that she and other girls her age now live in "constant fear of Hindu men" and never leave the house unless they are accompanied by an older family member.

Sentence

The sentence has not gone down well with many people and the chairperson of the National Women's rights commission has commented that she expected the death sentence for the perpetrators of the crime.

The case is involved in controversy over article 370. The court could not have awarded the death sentence as the IPC is not applicable to the state of Kashmir and the case was tried under the Ranbir Code which is applicable in Kashmir. The Judge has awarded the maximum of life in prison as well as 25 years prison for assault and battery. The sentences will run concurrently. Most human rights activists are not satisfied with the punishments awarded. This lenient sentence has not gone down well with many people.

Appeal

Two cabinet ministers backing the accused and demanding a "fair trial" incensed a lot of people. Ultimately, the two ministers were forced to resign. Punjab and Haryana High Court. will now hear an appeal against the quantum of the sentence and the acquittal of one of the accused.

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