New Delhi: More than a week after a 23-year old girl was brutally gang-raped in the national capital leading to angry protests and clashes between protesters and police ever since, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday made a fresh appeal to the nation to maintain peace.
“As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime,” he said in a televised appeal.
“We will examine into delay not only the responses to this terrible crime, but also all aspects concerning the safety and security of women,” he said at a time when the protests grew at key centres in the capital including India Gate and Jantar Mantar on Sunday. Emphasising that anger at this crime is “justified”, Singh said, “but violence will serve no purpose,” adding that home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had already made an appeal in this regard.
Access to central Delhi remained limited as nine metro stations—a key public transport in the city—was shut owing to safety concerns. The day coincides with the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin whose venue of meeting with Singh was changed from the centrally located Hyderabad House to Singh’s residence at Race Course Road.
“There is a genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident,” Singh said in a short appeal, according to a government release of Sunday night. “I feel deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces,” he said, while adding that the girl’s condition is being monitored.
While the opposition’s request for conducting a special session of the Parliament on this issue was turned down earlier, Sushma Swaraj, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha has demanded an all-party meeting to be convened on the issue.