New Delhi, April (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and leaders across political parties Saturday condemned the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl here. The prime minister said that the incident had shaken the collective conscience of the national capital.
"Action, not words, are required to check incidents like this heinous rape," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters, quoting party president Sonia Gandhi. "Not only police, people should also be watchful."
Expressing shock and anguish at the latest incident of rape in the capital, President Mukherjee said that "urgent steps must be taken to bring the perpetrators to immediate justice".
He added: "As a society, we must introspect the erosion of values and repeated failure to ensure the security of our women and children. We must identify the causes and find solutions for such criminal depravity in our midst."
The president said: "Let us pledge to put all our energy and effort into ensuring that such aberrations which stain our moral fibre and standing as a society is prevented."
Mukherjee also called upon authorities to to ensure the best possible medical attention to the girl.
Vice President Ansari said: "Apart from bringing the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice expeditiously, it is critical for all of us to reflect on why these barbaric acts keep recurring in our midst."
"We need to collectively work towards urgently changing the regressive mindset vis-a-vis our womenfolk, prevalent in our society. Else, our heads would continue to hang in shame and we will lose our right to be called a civilised, progressive society," Ansari said.
"We must ensure that the best possible medical treatment is provided to the little one," he added.
Prime Minister Singh said that he was deeply disturbed by the shameful rape of the child who was now fighting for her life in hospital.
He reiterated the "need for society to look deep within and work to root out the evil of rape and other such crimes from our midst".
He directed Delhi's Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna to take "strictest possible action" against the police officer for his completely "unacceptable treatment" meted out to some women protesting against this incident.
Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, called for hanging of rapists and that they needed "shock treatment".
"They reflect a mental sickness which has crept in society. A strong law is not sufficient, they (rapists) need a shock treatment. They should be hanged to send a strong message to other people," the BJP leader told reporters here.
Stating that the stronger anti-rape law passed by the parliament recently was not sufficient to deal with people accused of rape, Sushma Swaraj asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to call a meeting of political parties to discuss changes needed in the law.
The girl was abducted April 15 and kept hostage for two days without food and water in a room in which the attacker lived, on the ground floor of the building in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar. The victim and her family also live in the same building.
The girl, who was repeatedly raped, was rescued when members of her family heard her screams Wednesday, police said. She has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital.
Accused Manoj Kumar, 25, was arrested from a village in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district early Saturday.