New Delhi, Dec 27 (IBNS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday urged all chief ministers of India to wake up to the growing attack on women in public places and address the issue of their safety.
With the country in anger and on protest mode over the gangrape and brutalization of a Delhi medical student who is fighting for her life, the Prime Minister said women form half the population and without their participation there can be no meaningful development.
"There can be no meaningful development without the active participation of half the population and this participation simply cannot take place if their security and safety are not assured. I urge all Chief Ministers to pay special attention to this critical area in their states," said the PM at the meeting of the National Development Council attended by all chief ministers here.
Harping on gender inequality, the PM said: "Women and girls represent half the population and our society has not been fair to this half. Their socio-economic status is improving, but gaps persist."
"The emergence of women in public spaces, which is an absolutely essential part of social emancipation, is accompanied by growing threats to their safety and security. I have in mind the brutal attack on a young woman only a few days ago in the capital and other such reprehensible incidents elsewhere. We must reflect on this problem, which occurs in all states and regions of our country, and which requires greater attention both by the Centre and the States," said the PM.
He said in this particular case, the culprits have been apprehended, and the law will deal with them expeditiously while the Government has decided to review the present laws and examine the levels of punishments in cases of aggravated sexual assault.
"A committee of eminent jurists, headed by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma, has been constituted for this purpose. Let me state categorically that the issue of safety and security of women is of the highest concern to our Government," he said.
"A Commission of Inquiry is being set up to look into precisely these issues in the Capital," he said.