India May Execute Pipeline Saboteurs

February 2012, Vol. 239 No. 2

In an effort to secure its strategically important oil pipelines from acts of terrorism, India’s Parliament has voted to enact the death penalty for such crimes.

While the Rajya Sabha passed the bill after a brief debate, the Lok Sabha had earlier passed the amendment which also provides for a jail term of a minimum of 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for acts of terrorism.

The punishment “may extend to imprisonment for life or death” in case the act of sabotage is dangerous and is likely to cause death of any other person, an amendment bill states. Prior to the amendment, a 1962 law provided for a jail term of one to three years for acts of sabotage and pilferage. The government reported 230 cases of pilferage of pipelines during the past five years.

The government has proposed to lay more than 18,000 km of pipelines for petroleum products. Suggestions ranged from hiring farmers to protect to the pipelines to erecting barbed fence along the pipelines.

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