Allahabad: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday expressed "deep distress" over the recent gang-rape of a girl in Delhi but cautioned that though anger over the "ghastly incident" was "justified", violence was "no solution".
Describing the rape victim as a "brave young girl", the President said he prayed for her "speedy recovery" and added, "the government is alert to the situation and is taking necessary action to ensure that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated in future".
The President said "criminal attacks against women often happen in backdrop of negative perceptions about women, harboured and propagated by certain elements in society.
"This must change. We must inculcate in every member of our society the highest respect for women and the youth, particularly students of prestigious institutions, must take the lead in this regard."
Condoling the death of a policeman who succumbed to injuries suffered during the violent protests against the incident in the national capital, Mukherjee urged the youth to "control their emotions" while assuring that "necessary action" was being taken by the Government.
"I take a moment here to express my deep distress over the recent incident of brutal violence against a young girl in Delhi.
"I appreciate the justified anger against the ghastly incident. But I would like to remind the youth that violence is no solution," Mukherjee said in his convocation address at Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) in the city.
"I am told that a security personnel, who got injured while dealing with the violent protests, has died. I condole the death of the young man who gave up his life while performing his duty.
"I also urge the youth to control their emotions and hope that such incidents are not repeated," Mukherjee said.
Asserting that progress of a country cannot be guaranteed unless all sections of society take part in nation building to their full potential, Mukherjee said "women must be accepted and seen as equal or more than equal partners in our progress and prosperity as a nation".
"The participation of women is, in general, lower than men and the situation in engineering is even more acute.
"I am told that in MNNIT, the percentage of female students in the last ten years was around eight per cent. This is woefully short of what we should envisage as a nation of equal opportunity," he said, adding "I am hopeful that engineering as a discipline and a career of choice will affect many more girl students in the future."
The President was speaking as the Chief Guest of the ceremony where Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi was also present as the Guest of Honour.
Among others who were at the function included Uttar Pradesh Minister for Home Guards Brahma Shanker Tripathi.