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PM: Women’s safety a matter of concern
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
As Delhi remained on the edge in the aftermath of the brutal rape of a five-year-old and reports of a similar heinous crime pouring in from Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today termed safety, security and status of women an area that was a “matter of concern” and required “vast improvements”. He, however, also stressed that contributing to social and economic empowerment of women was a “special obligation” of all citizens and urged for a “widespread national movement in that direction”.

Broaching on the sensitive topic during his address at the Civil Services Day, Manmohan Singh said the gruesome assault on the young girl was a reminder of the need to work collectively to root out such kind of depravity from our society. “It is widely accepted that, as a country, we have vast improvements to make in this vital area. These issues came into sharper focus after the horrific gang rape in Delhi in December 2012. The agitations that have followed after that also point to the need for showing concern and sensitivity while dealing with the public anxiety that such incidents generate,” he said.

The government, the PM asserted, had moved with speed in strengthening the law to be able to deal more effectively with crime against women. “All of us, as responsible citizens, have a special obligation to contribute to the social and economic empowerment of women in our country. We need a wide spread national movement in that direction. As leaders in government your responsibility to ensure this outcome is even greater,” he told the audience comprising senior bureaucrats.

The BJP, on its part, attributed the rise in rape cases to the “insensitivity of the UPA government”. “The Prime Minister should be one who should be responsible and sensitive towards people, not someone who can do nothing. The rape cases are rising because the government has lost all sensitivity toward its people,” BJP president Rajnath Singh was quoted as saying.

Speaking only of child abuse, a report citing National Crimes Record Bureau statistics has said 48,338 child rape cases were recorded from 2001 to 2011 as India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases).

“These are only the tip of the iceberg as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported. Children are regularly becoming victims of other forms of sexual assault too,” says the report, ‘India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes’, released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on Saturday. The 56-page report states that sexual offences against children in India have reached an epidemic proportion and a large number of them are being committed in the juvenile justice homes run and aided by the government.





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