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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Child killers stay on death row
Children in India
The court said that the pair's treatment of children was depraved
The Indian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences passed on two women convicted of murdering a number of children who they had kidnapped.

The children were then forced to beg and steal by the two women.

The pair were convicted of carrying out the crimes in the state of Maharashtra between 1994 and 1996.

Thirteen children were involved, but not all the bodies have been recovered. The court said the brutality was so grave, there was no scope for leniency.

'No mitigating circumstances'

Death sentences are seldom carried out in India, and are very rarely passed on women.

The last execution, of a man two years ago, was the first for 10 years.

The two women were tried in court along with their mother, who later died in custody.

Police say they have recovered the bodies of five murdered children - all aged between one and five years old.

In its judgement, the court said says it did not find "any mitigating circumstances in favour of these women except for the fact they are women".

The judgement said that the "nature of the crime and the systematic way in which each child was kidnapped and killed" demonstrated "the depravity of mind" of those accused.

"They indulged in criminal activities for a very long period and continued it till they were caught by the police," the judgement said.

The court heard that the women kidnapped children from railways stations, temples, fairs and public gardens.

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