New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday said she was "pained" at society's failure to counter violence against women and called for it to be proactive in providing a safe and secure environment for women and girls.
"We have been shocked by the violence that girls and women encounter on the streets and even in their homes. Of course this is not universal, but it is very widespread," Gandhi said after laying the foundation stone for a girls' hostel in Jamia Milia Islamia.
"It pains me that as a society we have failed to counter it and create a secure environment where girls and women can live and flourish without being constantly in fear of abuse and molestation," she said.
Gandhi noted that while the government, parliament and institutions like police have to fulfil their role, society at large also needs to change its mindset.
"We must all become all the more proactive. There can be no better place for this other than our families, schools and universities," she added.
Gandhi's comments came against the backdrop of several gruesome incidents of violence against women and girls reported from across the country in the past few months.
The new girl's hostel which will be able to accommodate 400 girl students will be the 5th such unit in the campus.
"This hostel is an important step. Building on this initiative, the authorities will create more infrastructure that enables more and more young men and women to enter the portals of this university," Gandhi said.
She said that now that the varsity had been declared a minority educational institution, it has a greater opportunity to serve the cause of the community and other under-privileged sections of society.
On a lighter note the Congress president said she was delighted to be at the varsity as she does not often get a chance to be amongst students. "I am delighted for another reason that I can bunk my classes."