Political class vows to introspect on steps to prevent violence against women

Stirred by the nationwide outrage over the death of the 23-year-old gang rape victim, the wide spread criticism of the deficiencies in the law and the law-enforcing agencies in particular, and the gender insensitive mindset of the society, the political class vowed to introspect on steps needed to be taken to improve the system.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and the top rung leaders of various political parties, including the UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, resolved to do all that they could to bring to book the perpetrators of the barbarous crime.

Describing the girl as a “brave daughter of India” and a “true hero,” Mr. Mukherjee said all steps to bring the perpetrators of this “ghastly crime” to justice should be taken to ensure that her death would not be in vain.

Taking cognisance of the furious debate, on a range of issues related to violence against women, that erupted since the victim was brought to the Safdarjung Hospital on December 16, the Prime Minister hoped that the entire political class and civil society would set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to make India a demonstrably safer place to live in.

“We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated. These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change. It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelise these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action,” he said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said people were “rightly angry” over the incident and called for “very stringent” laws to ensure the safety of women. She said the victim’s death had shaken the conscience of the entire country and that her sacrifice should lead to the creation of “a new India, a new society where women are respected.”

Demanding the “most stringent punishment” to the accused, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said that it was essential for the Central government and the States to put in place, measures to prevent violence against women in place. “Such measures should include steps to ensure security, easy access to time-bound justice, punishment to officials for non-implementation, referring all pending cases to fast track courts and reformed and stringent laws against sexual assault,” the Polit Bureau said.

Her fight will not go in vain: Sonia

PTI reports from New Delhi:

Ms. Gandhi on Saturday said the fight of the nation’s “beloved daughter” would not go in vain, and she promised “swift and fitting punishment” to the perpetrators as well as stringent laws for protection of women.

“Her unbounded courage and her indomitable spirit will never die and will never be forgotten... My heart is heavy with sorrow and anguish for the young woman, who fought so bravely against impossible odds,” she said in her televised tribute. She recalled that the 23-year-old woman had died after battling for nearly two weeks after the “unspeakably brutal assault” on her.

“As a woman and mother, I understand how you feel. I appeal to you to remain calm and help strengthen our collective resolve to fight the menace of violence against women,” Ms. Gandhi said.

“Today all Indians grieve as they have lost their own beloved daughter, their cherished sister, a young woman of 23 whose life full of hope, dream and promise was ahead of her. Our hearts go out to her parents, family. The whole country shares their pain,” she added.

To the people who had hit the streets to express their outrage over the tragedy, Ms. Gandhi said: “I want to assure you that your voice has been heard.”

Appealing for peace and calm, she said: “Today we pledge that she will get justice and that her fight will not go in vain.”

Breaking his silence over the tragedy, Ms. Gandhi’s son and MP Rahul Gandhi called for introspection over the incident and a resolve to ensure the security and dignity of women.

“My heart goes out to the family of the young girl and millions of young Indians, families who work, hope and pray for a better India. We as a nation must reflect on the events of the days gone by,” Mr. Gandhi said, offering his condolences to the young woman’s family. As citizens, we must resolve to respect the dignity of women and follow the laws of the land, he said.

More In: National | News