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India president approves anti-rape bill

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee [official website] on Wednesday signed into law an anti-rape bill [text, PDF] providing for life terms and death sentences for offenders in addition to punishment for acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism. The bill also provides that all hospitals shall immediately provide medical assistance free of cost to the victims of acid attack or rape. Portions of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act [text, PDF] are revised by the bill. The bill was approved [JURIST report] by India's Parliament last month.

There has been a growing outcry for harsher penalties and reform in technical aspects India's law since the rape and subsequent death [BBC reports] of a medical student in December. Indian authorities charged six suspects [JURIST report] with murder after the death of the gang rape victim. Also in December Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [official profile] called for peace [JURIST report] after a protest over sexual violence resulted in a clash between protesters and police. India created a committee in January that recommended the new legal reforms [JURIST report].

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