New Delhi: As protests against the gruesome rape on a five-year-old girl here intensified, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said collective efforts were needed to root out such "depravity" from society.
An anguished Singh also said that "vast improvements" were required to ensure women`s safety in the country.
"The gruesome assault on a little child a few days back reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," he said.
"It is widely accepted that, as a country, we have vast improvements to make in these (safety, security and status of women) areas. These issues came into sharper focus after the horrific gang-rape incident in Delhi last December," the prime minister added.
The two brutal incidents—gang-rape of a girl in a moving bus on December 16 last year and rape of a five-year-old girl earlier this week--had led to agitations by various sections, demanding better law and order to ensure women`s security and stringent punishment to the culprits.
The Prime Minister said the agitations that have followed the two incidents also point to the need for showing concern and sensitivity while dealing with public anxiety that such incidents generate.
"Our government has moved with speed in strengthening the law to be able to deal more effectively with offences against women. However, this is but a small part of what needs to be done," he said, inaugurating the 8th Civil Services Day function here.
"All of us, as responsible citizens, have a special obligation to contribute to the social and economic empowerment of women in our country," he added.
With protests against the rape of the five-year-old girl continuing in the Capital, a tight security net was thrown at Vigyan Bhavan, the venue of the event.