Gang-rape echo as PM harps on gender equality
The gangrape of a 23-year-old student cast its shadow over the National Development Council meeting held here on Thursday to pass the 12th Five-Year Plan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invoked the incident to stress on his government’s commitment to women’s safety. He went on to add that all the accused had been apprehended and that two committees had been constituted to draw up stringent laws to deal with violence against women.
Ordinarily, Planning Commission meetings debate humdrum growth figures — if 8 per cent is a more realistic target than 8.2 per cent — and Budget estimates that ordinary citizens find difficult to relate to. On Thursday, Singh told the gathering of Chief Ministers, state Chief Secretaries and Cabinet Ministers: “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.”
Unlike his last address on the issue three days ago that ended in a publicity disaster, Singh said: “There can be no meaningful
development without the participation of half the country’s population.”