Kathua Girl’s Rape, Murder Heinous, Shameful: President

Jammu—President Ram Nath Kovind today condemned the rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua as “heinous” and “shameful”, and said it was the first responsibility of any society to ensure security of children.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also said that it was unfortunate that the country was still facing cases of atrocities against women, but a new law alone would not arrest such crimes and the mindset of men needed to change.

Addressing the 6th Convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Kakriyal in Reasi district, the president said there was a need to introspect on “what kind of a society we are developing into”.

He said crimes against children were a deep concern for humanity and there was a need for a firm resolve to provide safety to children.

“Such an incident happening in our country after 70 years of Independence is shameful. We all have to think where we are going.What kind of society are we developing into. What are we giving to future generation?” he said.

“Perhaps the most beautiful thing in the world was the smile on the face of an innocent child. The greatest benchmark for society to judge its success would be to keep our children safe. Protecting every child and ensuring all children feel secure is the utmost responsibility of society.”

He added: “In various parts of the country, our children are sometimes victims of heinous crimes. The occurrence of such barbaric incidents even 70 years after Independence is a matter of shame. We have to ask ourselves – what kind of society are we building? What are we giving our future generation? Are we building a society where women can enjoy justice, equality and independence, as provided for by our Constitution?”

Speaking at an event in Guwahati, Naidu said, “This country, even after 70 years of Independence, is facing such problems. It is unfortunate that there are cases of atrocities against women in different parts of the country. We get disturbed as and when the incidents happen and forget about them later.”

“Merely bringing a bill is not enough. What is required is not a bill (alone), but political will, administrative skill to kill the social evil…There is a need for a change of mindset of men,” Naidu said.

The president said children have been becoming targets of serious crimes in some or other part of the country.

“Recently one child became target of a heinous and barbaric crime, which nobody could ever imagine,” he said, referring to the brutal gang rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Kathua.

“Are we developing such a society where our mothers, sisters and daughters are getting their right of justice, equality and freedom as enshrined by the Constitution?” he asked.

The president called for a resolve to provide security and safety to girl child across the nation.

“It is the responsibility of all of us that it (cases like the Kathua rape and murder case) does not happen with any of our sisters or daughters,” Kovind said.

The remarks by the president and the vice president came at a time when people across the country were protesting against the rape incidents in Kathua of Jammu and Kashmir, Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, and Surat in Gujarat.

The president said if there is good education it makes students good human beings and people who have sensitivity and sense of equality towards others.

Speaking at the convocation, he said, “A good human being, if he becomes a doctor, becomes a good doctor, and if he becomes an engineer, a good engineer, which is better for society,” he added.

In the convocation, 882 students were awarded degrees in various disciplines including 439 graduate degrees and 427 masters degrees, besides 16 PhDs and 26 medals.

The president complimented the students who have passed out from the university and said that girl students have done exceptionally well by securing eight out of the 12 gold medals.

I and the entire country feel proud of these girls who have been marching ahead due to their hard work and intelligence,” he said.

He said that women from various parts of the country have also done exceptionally well in the Commonwealth Games this year and made India proud.

Among them included Merry Kom, Manika Batra, Mira Bhai, Sanjita, Manu Baker, Vinesh Phoghat, Saina Newal, Ashwani Ponpa, Tejeswani, Hena Sidhu, Poonam Yadav and Shriyasi Singh, he said.

“And when we talk of women, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti cannot be forgotten as she has followed the footprints of her father Mufti Sahab and is leading the state in the difficult period,” the president said.

He also complimented industrialists Sunil Bharti Mittal and Pawan Munjal, who were conferred honorary Doctorate of Science by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, and said they have made the biggest contribution to the country in terms of industry and creation of jobs.

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