India will send out sternest possible message against rape



United Nations: India has vowed to ensure that the culprits involved in December's horrific gang-rape and subsequent death of an Indian woman in Delhi are brought to speedy justice to send out a sternest possible message.

"The Government of India will ensure that the culprits are brought to speedy justice, and the sternest possible message sent out by giving them the punishment they deserve," India's permanent representative to UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, said on Wednesday.

"The Government of India shares the collective anguish of all Indians, on this most horrific incident," he said participating in the first regular session of UN Women Executive Board where a reference was made to the Delhi gang-rape.

Justice JS Verma's Committee, Puri noted, has suggested ways to initiate a series of steps to ensure that such crimes do not happen again.

Earlier, in her opening statement, Michelle Bachelet, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, referred to the "tragic news from India that ignited public outrage in that country, which echoed around the world."

"I am speaking of the brutal gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi," she said and referred to the case of a gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl in Ohio and the tragic shooting in Pakistan of girls' education activist, Malala Yousafzai.

Noting that "violence against women is rampant everywhere, in all countries," Bachelet said UN Women is calling on governments everywhere to commit to end violence against women and girls.

So far, 16 governments have announced new commitments and UN Women will keep pushing, as a priority, to end violence against women in all its forms, she said.

In response, Puri said the "edifice of the Indian society is premised on the all embracing power of the Indian woman - which in our ancient thought and religious belief, bestows her the power to create, nurture and transform.

"She is not only worshipped as 'Durga' the goddess of creation, but also as 'Saraswati' - the inspiration for all music, poetry, science and learning."

"It is therefore absolutely reprehensible that such a horrific tragedy happened on Indian soil," Puri said.

"While it would remain a blot on the strong feminist credentials of the Indian societal fabric, the incident indeed shook the whole conscience of our nation at its very roots," he said.

IANS