Telangana, Muzaffarnagar riots kept Home Ministry busy in 2013

ShindeUnion Home Minister SushilKumar Shinde. (PTI)

Decision to create Telangana, framing of tough anti-rape law and communal violence in Muzaffarnagar kept the Home Ministry busy in 2013 during which Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged.

There was relative calm in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast during the year but violence perpetrated by Maoists in central and eastern states continued unabated and in one of most audacious attacks, rebels killed 28 leaders and workers of Congress in Chhattisgarh.

Following huge public outrage after the December 16, 2012 gangrape incident in Delhi, the government within weeks promulgated an ordinance on sexual violence against women under which rape that leads to death of the victim can attract death penalty.

Soon, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 came into force after Parliament passed it. The new legislation provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.

It amends various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The new law states that an offender can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of the convict's natural life.

After Congress Working Committee's decision, the government gave its nod for creation of a 10-district Telangana and outlined the blueprint for carving out the country's 29th state from Andhra Pradesh.

The decision saw huge protests in Seemandhra region comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema especially for the loss of Hyderabad, which would go to the new state Telangana.

After Union Cabinet approval, the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation Bill was sent to the President, who in turn referred the legislation to Andhra Pradesh Assembly for ratification even though it is not mandatory.

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