PM calls for women’s safety

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said “vast improvement” was needed to give women “security, safety and status” and asked people to work together to end “depravity” from society.

He said the major concern was to ensure “safety, security and status of women in society.

“It is widely accepted that, as a country, we have vast improvements to make in this vital area,” he said while addressing bureaucrats here.

The prime minister said these issues came into sharper focus after the horrific gang-rape here of Dec 16 and the gruesome assault on a five-year-old girl.

He said such incidents remind us “to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society”.

Both the rape victims Manmohan Singh referred to were brutally raped.

The young woman eventually died in Singapore. The five-year-old was raped and brutalized, then locked up and left to die by a 22-year-old neighbour. She is now said to be stable.

The prime minister said the protests against the rapes exposed “the need for showing concern and sensitivity while dealing with public anxiety that such incidents generate”.

He said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has “moved with speed in strengthening the law to be able to deal more effectively with offences against women”.

The laws related to rape and other sexual assaults against women were amended by parliament recently, making punishment more stringent.

“All of us, as responsible citizens, have a special obligation to contribute to the social and economic empowerment of women in our country,” he said. “We need a widespread national movement in that direction.”

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