A six-year-old girl was reportedly raped, strangled and left for dead in an Indian village. She had gone to buy biscuits on Saturday and, when she did not return, her family and fellow villagers in Jagannathpur launched a search. Her grandfather filed a criminal complaint, according to the Deccan Chronicle , and a year-old man from the same village was reportedly arrested on Monday. A team of 13 doctors is said to be caring for the girl after she suffered serious injuries to the head, face, neck and chest in addition to the rape. The case comes days after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi issued an ordinance introducing the death penalty for child rapists. It has been passed to the president, Ram Nath Kovind, for approval after a series of high-profile attacks. To become law, it will need to go before parliament within six months — but the punishment will be enforceable in the meantime. Violent crime against women has been rising in India despite tough legislation enacted in In , the fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi triggered international horror and mass protests to demand stricter rape laws.
Twelve-year-old Aarti Kumari combs her hair at the Kasturba Gandhi Girls School.
Court strikes down law allowing men to have sex with children as young as 15 provided they have married them. Indian child protection laws already prohibit an adult from having sex with someone below the age of An analysis of the most recent national census by the data journalism initiative India Spend estimated that nearly 12 million Indian children under the age of 10 were married. The majority were girls from poor, rural families with little or no education. The previous legal regime meant a year-old boy who had consensual sex with another girl his age could be charged with statutory rape, while a year-old who raped his year-old wife was committing no crime. Successive Indian governments have defended the exception, arguing that social and economic conditions in many parts of the country make child marriage an unfortunate reality, one that needs to be addressed by development programmes rather than the law. Mass child marriages occur in many parts of the country on days considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar, such as the Akshaya Tritiya festival. Kriti Bharti, a pioneering activist credited with preventing thousands of child marriages in Rajasthan state, said the judgment was a welcome starting point. She said community attitudes in favour of child marriage were deeply entrenched, and parents of young girls often presented an obstacle to her work.
In the bare dirt courtyard of a low-slung building in a small farming village, a group of girls chase one another in a round of kabaddi, a local schoolyard game a bit like Red Rover. It could be any small village school in a desperately poor rural area of India — except that these girls have barely escaped a 21st century system of slavery. More children are sold into prostitution in India than in any other country. In villages such as Simraha, it is not uncommon for girls as young as 12 or 13 to be sold. The school keeps them safe and away from the home-based brothels that they were growing up in. At this school, many of the children playing games, doing homework, helping with dinner and making crafts are the daughters of prostitutes.