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India Increases Penalties for Juvenile Crimes

The mother (center) of the victim of the fatal 2012 gang rape that shook India arrives to lend her support at a protest in New Delhi, India, Dec. 21, 2015.

Indian lawmakers have voted to lower the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for serious criminal offenses following public anger over the release of one of the attackers in a fatal 2012 gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus.

The changes, passed by the upper house of parliament Tuesday, will allow minors aged 16-18 to be sentenced to at least seven years in young offenders' institutions for convictions of "heinous crimes" which include rape and murder.

The new bill follows widespread protests calling for changes to the law after the country’s Supreme Court ruled it could no longer delay the release of the youngest rapist convicted in the attack.

Medical student Jyoti Singh was killed in a brutal attack, carried out by six men, while riding on a bus in December 2012. Police said the youngest attacker, then only 17 years old, was the most brutal of the rapists, who beat their victim with an iron rod before sexually assaulting her.

The youngest convict in the case, now 20, was released Sunday after serving three years in a correction home.

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