Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday condoled the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim and expressed the hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to make India a demonstrably safer place to live in.

He said it would be a true homage to her memory if the emotions and energies of the youth generated by the brutal assault on her are channelised into a constructive course of action.

Deeply saddened by the death of the girl, he joined the nation in conveying to her family and friends his deepest condolences at this terrible loss.

“I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain. 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 in his condolence message.

He said the need of the hour is a dispassionate debate and inquiry into the critical changes that are required in societal attitudes.

Government, Mr. Singh said, was examining on priority basis the penal provisions that exist for such crimes and measures to enhance the safety and security of women.

“I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to help us all reach the end that we all desire making India a demonstrably better and safe place for women to live in,” Mr. Singh said in his condolence message.

The Prime Minister said he prays for the peace of the departed soul and hoped that her family will have the strength to bear this grievous loss.

Brave daughter of India: President

Describing the 23-year-old gangrape victim who died in Singapore as a “brave daughter of India”, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said all steps to bring the perpetrators of this “ghastly crime” to justice should be taken to ensure that her death will not be in vain.

“She was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women...The nation will mourn the passing of this brave daughter of India,” the President said in his condolence message.

He appealed for peace and calm and called upon authorities to take all necessary steps to bring the perpetrators of this ghastly crime to justice.

“Deeply distressed” by the “unfortunate demise” of the girl, he said while conveying his condolences to her parents and family who have faced this adversity with “fortitude and grace” and prayed that they have the strength to bear this loss.

“At the same time, let us resolve that this death will not be in vain. We will do everything possible to ensure that such an incident never happens again,” he said.

Young life has been brutally snatched: Hamid Ansari

Condoling the death, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said, “I am profoundly saddened at the passing away of the young girl, rightly being referred to as India’s daughter”.

“A young, promising life has been brutally snatched away in most tragic circumstances. Not only has the family lost a daughter and a sister, every Indian is today feeling the sense of loss as we all had come to identify with the braveheart as she fought valiantly for her life,” he said.

Mr. Ansari expressed hope that “this heart rending tragedy would compel us as people to focus on social norms and practices which are violative of human rights and an impediment to progress in the modern world.”

Home Minister pledges to strengthen laws

Condoling the death of the gang-rape victim, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, on Saturday, pledged to strengthen laws to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

He also said that the real tribute to the 23-year-old victim will be to ensure maximum punishment to the culprits.

In a message to the family, he said, “A real tribute to her will be to ensure maximum punishment to the culprits. I pledge to work to strengthen the laws and ensure that such an incident never gets repeated again,” he said.

“We tried our best to provide the best health care. Government is committed to seek deterrent punishment to the accused,” Mr. Shinde said.

“Government is also committed to make necessary changes in law to make it more stringent so that such incidents do not occur in future,” he said.

Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh assured the family of the girl that the Government would work towards ensuring “harshest possible” punishment for her killers in the “quickest possible time”.

“Government will work overtime to try and bring about laws and steps that ensure that no other citizen of the country has to go undergo the same kind of trauma,” Mr. Singh said.

Shameful incident: Sheila Dikshit

Terming the gang-rape of the 23-year-old girl as a “shameful incident” for her as an administrator, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, on Saturday, condoled the death of the victim and said one must ensure that such “ghastly” acts do not happen again.

She also appealed to people to maintain peace and calm against the backdrop of violent demonstrations last weekend over the gang-rape incident.

“Our heart goes to the family. My heart is burning over the incident. The passing away of the girl is a truly and terribly tragic incident. It shook our conscience,” Ms. Dikshit said.

“It is a shameful incident for me as a Chief Minister and also as a citizen of Delhi. It is time for all of us to reflect on what has happened. We all must ensure such ghastly incident do not happen in future. I pray for her,” Ms. Dikshit said.

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