From BBC News India 4 April, 2014
A court in India has sentenced three men to hang, under a new law which carries the death penalty for those convicted of multiple sexual assaults.
The men were convicted of raping a photojournalist in Mumbai last year.
But they were also among five men sentenced to life last month for raping another woman in a separate incident in the city.
The trio are the first to be tried and convicted under the tough new law aimed at repeat sexual offenders.
Friday’s sentences were announced at a court in Mumbai where Judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said: “There needs to be zero tolerance for such incidents,” the Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
“A loud and clear message needs to be sent to society,” she added.
Both the victims – an 18-year-old telephone operator and the photojournalist – were attacked last year. Both trials were completed within seven months in a fast-track court.
The 22-year-old photojournalist, an intern with a Mumbai-based magazine, had gone to the Shakti Mills – a former textile mill that now lies abandoned – with a male colleague on a photo assignment when she was attacked. Her colleague was beaten during the assault.
After that case made national headlines, the 18-year-old telephone operator came forward to report that she had been assaulted in the same place a month earlier.
Scrutiny of sexual violence has grown in India ever since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi in December 2012.
The case sparked off nationwide protests and forced the Indian authorities to introduce tough new anti-rape laws.
Four men were sentenced to death and a juvenile was sent to a correction facility for three years for the Delhi attack.
The attack on the Mumbai photojournalist only renewed public outrage.
From ATB: We were surprised yesterday to hear that India has passed this extremely strong punishment for conviction of multiple rapes. They are, indeed, wanting to end this epidemic culture of rape that has been rampant in India. The US doesn’t have a law this strong. And a death penalty in India where life is very sacred. . . pretty amazing. There are people who feel that death penalties don’t deter such crimes. I am not one of them. The government has made the strongest statement possible. I, for one, say good for them. We arrived in India just weeks after the horrendous bus rape and murder in Delhi in December 2012. There were numerous demonstrations and marches. One of our favorite restaurants at C G Crossroads in Ahmedabad, Souk had all the men who worked there wear tee shirts against rape and disrespect for women. Many men and women wanted to make statements against this horrible situation.
Professor stressed to the students in our group that they should not be alone especially at night. He also encouraged that there be one of the guys with groups of girls. Thankfully we had no trouble. Safety was paramount! I have said all along that I felt that education, a strong cultural stand with demonstrations, arrests, trials , and punishment is essential for ridding this blight in India. Good for the government for finally taking a strong stand. Trials , convictions, and punishment should be the norm to begin to right this wrong and work for a “zero tolerance” reality for women and girls in India.