Forced on the back foot by unprecedented public fury over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has appealed to all citizens of the country to maintain calm, saying violence is not the solution.
"My fellow citizens, there is genuine and justified anger and anguish at the ghastly crime of gang-rape committed last Sunday in Delhi. As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife and family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime," said Dr. Singh in his televised statement this morning.
"We are constantly monitoring her medical condition. Let us all pray for her and her loved ones during this critical time. I feel deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces," he added.
Dr. Singh said 'anger at this crime is justified, but violence will serve no purpose'.
"I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm. I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure the security and safety of women in this country. The Home Minister has already spoken about the steps being taken. We will examine without delay, not only the responses to this terrible crime, but also all aspects concerning the safety of women and children, and punishment to those who commit these monstrous crimes," said Dr. Singh.
"Our government will keep you informed of the steps we are taking and the processes we are following. Fellow citizens, I appeal to all sections of society to maintain peace and help us in our efforts," he added.
Meanwhile, the protestors have gathered at the Jantar Mantar here after the lockdown at India Gate.
Prohibitory orders that were imposed under Section 144 yesterday remains. The media personnel have been asked to vacate the India Gate here, where the situation had become tensed last evening with the police using water cannons to disperse the angry protestors.
The protestors broke barricades, started pelting stones and virtually attacked the police.
The police had no other option, but to resort to teargas shells.
All the nine metro stations in the vicinity of India Gate have also been closed until further orders to ensure crowds of people do not attempt to reach the protesting venue.
The condition of the 23-year-old girl, who was gang-raped on a moving bus, continues to be critical. (ANI)