Amid nationwide outrage over the Delhi gang rape, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday called for changing “negative perceptions” about women.

“Women must be treated with respect and should be provided a safe, secure and congenial environment in which their talents can flower and they can contribute their full share in the building of our nation,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

He was addressing the special convocation of the Banaras Hindu University here, organised to mark the concluding ceremony of the birth centenary of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.

“The nation has been witness to the anger and rage of our youth, who have gathered on the streets of Delhi and other cities to demand stronger measures to ensure the safety of women and more stringent laws to provide deterrent penalty to criminals, who endanger our women. I am certain that the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in future,” he said.

The President pointed out that the Prime Minister had said all possible efforts to ensure the security and safety of women would be made.

To the protesters, the President said: “Your anger is justified. I understand the agony of young minds, but please remember nothing is achieved through violence.”

Describing Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya as a statesman, scholar, educationist, journalist, social reformer and legislator, the President said his contribution to the making of modern India was immense and varied.

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