India toughens law to protect children from sexual abuse

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government has toughened a law against child sexual abuse and child pornography.

The law amended this week has increased the maximum penalty for child sex abuse to capital punishment from 20 years in prison.

The government also defined child pornography for the first time and made the penalties more stringent, with a maximum punishment up to three years in prison.

The amendments prohibit administering hormones or chemical therapies to children to hasten their sexual maturity for the purpose of sexual intercourse. The updated law clarifies that children are protected from sex abuse even during natural disasters.

The ruling amends the 2012 gender-neutral Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, which says a child is anyone younger than 18 years old.

Policewomen detain an activist of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) during a protest against the alleged gang rape of a minor girl in Kolkata. – AP