We have failed to create secure environment for women: Sonia

Expressing anguish over the sense of insecurity among women, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday called for a change in "mindset" to "create a secure environment".

Addressing students of Jamia Millia Islamia after laying the foundation stone of a girls' hostel, Gandhi said, "We have all been shocked by the violence that girls and women encounter on the streets and even at home. It pains me that, as a society, we have failed to counter it and create a secure environment where girls and women can live and flourish without being constantly in fear of abuse and molestation."

She said the government, Parliament and institutions, such as police, have to fulfil their roles, while the society "needs to change its mindset". She said society needs to become more proactive and "there can be no better starting point for this than within our own families, our schools and universities".

Gandhi came to Jamia in a helicopter, which landed on the grounds of a school in Sarai Julena, and drove to the cricket stadium at Jamia sports complex.

Jamia Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung said he met the Congress president nearly eight months ago and had mentioned how difficult it was for girl students to find accommodation. He said Gandhi took it upon herself to persuade the government to provide Jamia a grant of Rs 26 crore for the construction of the girls' hostel.

During her address, Gandhi said she was delighted to be at Jamia as she did not get too many opportunities to spend time with students and "also because I can bunk my class".

She announced university's decision to name the cricket ground at the sports complex after former captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

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