President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and leaders from across the political spectrum on Saturday expressed shock over the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi and pressed for strong action to check such barbaric incidents.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has promised action against policemen if found guilty of trying to hush up the case by allegedly offering money to the victim’s parents.

“An enquiry is on to find out if there was any lapse on the part of police. We will take action against the policemen who are found to be guilty. We are waiting for the report.

Give us some time, we will take action,” Mr. Shinde told reporters in New Delhi.

His statement came in the wake of protests in the national capital against the rape and demand for action against policemen who allegedly tried to hush up the case by offering money to the parents of the victim.

“I am shocked and deeply anguished at the latest incident of sexual assault and rape of a five-year-old child in Delhi. I join her family in praying for a speedy recovery and call upon concerned authorities to ensure the best possible medical attention for her,” Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony quoted the President as saying.

While seeking urgent steps to bring the perpetrators to immediate justice, the President said, “As a society, we must introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure the security of our women and children.”

Mr. Ansari spoke for self-reflection over recurrence of such incidents in the society.

“Apart from bringing the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice expeditiously, it is critical for all of us to reflect on why these barbaric acts keep recurring in our midst,” he said.

The Vice-President also urged to change the regressive mindset towards women in the society.

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