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Indian president signs new anti-rape law


09:47, April 04, 2013

NEW DELHI, April 3 (Xinhua) -- More than three months after the gangrape of a 23-year-old medical student in the national capital shocked India, a new and stringent anti-rape law has come into force in this country.

President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday signed into law the anti- rape bill which stipulates life term and even death sentence for rapists, apart from stricter punishment for offenses like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism, the Home Ministry said Wednesday.

"The President of India has accorded his assent to the bill on April 2 and it will now be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013," the Home Ministry said in its statement.

According to the new law, anyone convicted of gangrape will be given a minimum of 20 years in jail, while perpetrators of acid attacks will have to stay 10 years in prison. However, it has fixed 18 years as the minimum age for consensual sex.

The Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament) had passed the act on March 19 while the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Parliament) endorsed it on March 21.

India has over the last three months witnessed a surge in the number of rape cases, including the fatal gangrape of the Delhi University student on a moving bus by six men last December and the gangrape of a Swiss woman tourist in the central state of Madhya Pradesh last month.

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