NEW DELHI: Observing that crimes against women is a result of a deep-rooted social problem, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju today said that a change in society's mindset is crucial for women's safety.
Inaugurating 'South Asian Women's Peace and Security' conference, Rijiju said, "I cannot imagine such atrocities still happening on women in the 21st century. Gender bias and inequality are very grave."
The conference was attended by representatives from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines and Myanmar.
The Minister said efforts of the government, judiciary and the police alone will not be sufficient to curb the menace of crimes against women.
"A country cannot claim to progress where women are not safe in the society. It is not a question of man or woman, it is a matter of humanity," he added.
Pointing out that the registration of crimes against women have reported an alarming rise in the recent years, Rijiju said this spurt is due to the tightening of the legal provisions and the mandatory registration of such crimes.
Fact is that such incidents are happening and there is no change in situation on the ground, he said.
The community, family members must be sensitized, the cause and the solution to this issue is also within each of us, he said.
Mentioning that India is a signatory to various regional and global conventions on women's equality, Rijiju said no country has such elaborate legal provisions as we have on the issue of women's safety and equality.
"India has a number of legal provisions for the protection of women, but the problem still lies in the mindset of society. We need to come together and collectively resolve this issue," he said.
Assuring that the government will seriously consider the recommendations made by the conference to enhance women's safety, Rijiju remarked that the women are the first and worst sufferers in conflict zones worldwide and in the disturbed areas whether in the Northeast or Jammu and Kashmir.
The Minister said in contemporary conflicts, as much as 90 per cent of casualties are among civilians, most of whom are women and children.
He also cautioned against the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying that unimaginable stories of atrocities against women and their sufferings are emerging from the areas under their influence.
"I am here to show solidarity on these issues. Consider me part of your movement: let's work together to ensure peace and security for women in these countries," he said.