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Lawmakers In India Pass Tougher Rape Law

Indian lawmakers have approved legislation that includes tougher punishment for rapists, including the death penalty.

The anti-rape bill passed Tuesday in the lower house provides for a minimum 20-year prison sentence for gang-rape, which can be extended to life in jail. It also introduces new penalties for stalking, groping, voyeurism and acid attacks.

Under the existing laws, a rapist faces a term of seven to 10 years.

India's Interior Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the new, tougher legislation will act as a deterrent.

But some women's rights activists and lawmakers also want even stricter punishment for acid attacks on women and for child trafficking.

The new legislation still needs approval of the upper house of parliament.



The passage of the anti-rape amendment comes nearly three months after a 23-year-old student was sexually assaulted in a moving bus in New Delhi. She later died from internal injuries. The case sparked outrage in India.

And on Tuesday, a female British tourist suffered leg injuries after she jumped out of a hotel window over fears of a sex attack in the Indian city of Agra, home to India's well-known tourist attraction, Taj Mahal.

This comes days after a Swiss cyclist was gang-raped by a group of villagers in central India.

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