PM addresses nation: As father of three girls, feel the pain

FP

For the second time in less than 24 hours, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday appealed to protesters demanding better safety for women to maintain peace and calm, saying that "as a father of three daughters" himself, he felt as strongly about the rape of the 23-year-old woman last week as anyone else.

"There is a genuine and justified anger and anguish at the ghastly crime of gangrape committed last Sunday in Delhi...My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime. We are constantly monitoring her medical condition. Let us all pray for her and her loved ones during this critical time," Singh said in a televised address.

He had made similar remarks in a statement, posted on his website on Sunday evening, after protesters at India Gate and Raisina Hill had turned violent.

"I also feel deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces. Anger at this crime is justified but violence will serve no purpose. I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm," Singh said, echoing his Sunday appeal.

"I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety of women in this country. The home minister has already spoken about the steps being taken. We will examine without delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety of women and children and punishment to those who commit these monstrous crimes. Our government will keep you informed of the steps we are taking and the processes we are following," he said.

Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur also condemned the crime and appealed for peace while seeking "stringent" punishment for the culprits.

"We are all very sad at this incident but if they (protests) are conducted in a peaceful manner, they will yield more results...This is a horrible crime...such incident needs to be condemned in the strongest possible way," she said on the sidelines of a function.

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