New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and leaders from across the political spectrum on Saturday expressed shock over the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi and pressed for strong action to check such barbaric incidents. While Congress President Sonia Gandhi sent out a stern message to the authorities that action, not words were required, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded death for those found guilty of raping minors and indulging in brutality.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has promised action against policemen if found guilty of trying to hush up the case by allegedly offering money to the victim's parents. "I am shocked and deeply anguished at the latest incident of sexual assault and rape of a five-year-old child in Delhi. I join her family in praying for a speedy recovery and call upon concerned authorities to ensure the best possible medical attention for her," Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony quoted the President as saying.
While seeking urgent steps to bring the perpetrators to immediate justice, the President said, "As a society, we must introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure the security of our women and children." Ansari spoke for self-reflection over recurrence of such incidents in the society.
"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," he said. The Vice President also urged to change the regressive mindset towards women in the society.
Gandhi sent out a tough message to authorities that "action and not words" are necessary to stop recurrence of such incidents. "Congress President Sonia Gandhi has condemned the heinous incident of rape of the five-year-old girl. She has appealed to the government and the administration that action and not words are required to ensure that such incidents never happen again in future," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
Gandhi also emphasised on the need for "awareness" among citizens to stop such incidents, saying these kinds of crimes can be stopped only when each and every citizen of the country is alert and aware. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has demanded that the new anti-rape law be made more stringent and provide for death penalty in cases of rape of children and those involving brutality and barbarity.
"Nothing short of death sentence in cases of rape of children and cases involving brutality and barbarity will help," Swaraj said. The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha also asked Home Minister Shinde to convene a meeting of representatives of all political parties to provide for death sentence to perpetrators of such brutal crimes.
The BJP leader said these "perverts and sadists" require shock treatment. "We need to make the recent law more stringent," she said. "An enquiry is on to find out if there was any lapse on the part of police. We will take action against the policemen who are found to be guilty. We are waiting for the report. Give us some time, we will take action," Shinde told reporters here.
His statement came in the wake of protests in the national capital against the rape and demand for action against policemen who allegedly tried to hush up the case by offering money to the parents of the victim.