Saturday 22 September 2018 1:34 AM UTC
NEW DELHI Sept 22: India has launched its first sex offenders register with the names of 440,000 people convicted of rape and child abuse.
The government has created the database, which will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies, in a bid to stem crimes against women as the country reels from a series of high-profile rape cases.
It will also provide their photos, addresses and fingerprints, without compromising ‘any individual’s privacy’, according to a statement from the home ministry.
‘The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) … will assist in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences,’ the ministry said in the statement late on Thursday.
The register comes as a spate of sexual assault cases have rocked the country, which was named the most dangerous in the world for women by experts in a survey published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June.
The urgency to establish a sex offenders register gained momentum following nationwide outcry over the rape and murder of a Muslim girl in a Hindu-dominated area of Jammu and Kashmir state earlier this year.
The accused, all Hindus, are currently on trial.
The case prompted the government to approve the death penalty for the rape of girls under 12, and also increase the prison term for the rape of older girls and women.
Despite various measures, India’s rape epidemic has shown no sign of dying down. More than 100 cases were reported daily in India in 2016, the latest government data shows.
Earlier this week, police arrested the principal and four staff members of a boarding school in northern India over the rape of a teenage student.
Police said they detained four male students for the rape, which left the girl pregnant. The school staff are accused of destroying evidence and covering up the crime.
In southern Kerala state, protests and calls grew this week for the arrest of a bishop accused of repeatedly raping a nun over a period of two years.
In August, police in northern Uttar Pradesh state rescued 20 girls and three boys from a home where they were sold for sex.
That raid came just weeks after police rescued nearly 30 girls who were sexually assaulted and tortured at a shelter in Bihar state.
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