Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 30 January, faced backlash on social media for his comments on rapes in the country.Speaking at a youth conclave in Surat, Modi said that “there used to be rapes in this country earlier too... it is a shame that we still hear about such cases.”Following this, he made a claim that culprits in rape cases are now “hanged within three days, seven days, 11 days and a month.”“Steps are being taken continuously to get daughters justice and results are evident,” he added, as per ANI.In Gujarat, PM Modi Bats for Majority Govt, Defends DemonetisationThe claim, about “hanging culprits in rape cases”, is however not backed by National Crime Records Bureau data, which has not been released post 2016.‘PM Can’t Possibly Know This’Karuna Nundy, Supreme Court advocate, tweeted saying there was no way the PM could know of this information.“There has been no NCRB data since 2016. Aside from the fact that hanging doesn't quell crime, not a single culprit has been hanged within three days, 11 days or a month of his rape. So no, this is not true,” she said.Meanwhile, journalist Utkarsh Anand pointed out that the last time India had carried out an execution was in 2015 when Yakub Memon was hanged after being found guilty in the 1993 Mumbai terrorist bombings.Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah said that someone from the PMO should furnish details of such rape cases.Journalists Sakshi Joshi and Anna MM Vetticad also echoed Anand’s views.Shama Mohamed, AICC National Media Panelist, slammed Modi’s remarks and said that BJP members had “openly supported Kathua rapists”.‘She Was Starved for 8 Days,’ Mothers of Kathua Rape Victim GrieveNo Hangings, But Death Sentences on the RiseWhile there have been no hangings of rapists in India, as misleadingly claimed by PM Modi, the number of death sentences handed out have increased significantly, owing mostly to an IPC amendment passed last year – introducing the death penalty for rape of children aged below 12 years.According to ‘The Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics 2018’ report, released by the Delhi-based National Law University’s research group Project 39A, as many as 162 convicts were sentenced to death by lower courts in India last year, with Madhya Pradesh accounting for 22, the highest of all states.The figures, as pointed out in the report, show a marked increase between 2017 and 2018 in the number of death penalties handed out in Madhya Pradesh. The state had sentenced six people to death in 2017, as compared to 22 in 2018, as per The Print.The report notes this increase with concern, adds The Print piece, pointing out that last year’s IPC amendment had been used most commonly in Madhya Pradesh.The government has also repeatedly incentivised public prosecutors to seek the severest punishment for offenders.Kathua Rape: A Year On, Mehbooba Mufti Blames BJP For Protests We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.