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'Centre to ensure harsh punishment for crimes against women'

Kottayam, Jan 2, 2012, (PTI) : 13:05 IST
Terming the Delhi gang rape case as a "horrendous incident" Defence Minister A K Antony today said the Centre would bring out a law ensuring stringent punishment for culprits involved in crimes against women immediately on getting the Justice J S Verma Committee report.

"What has happened in Delhi is brutal. The accused should get harshest punishment. This is my view and demand of the public as a whole," Antony said.

"Let the protests and reactions of society against the Delhi incident open our eyes. I don't think the public outcry would subside soon," he said while inaugurating the 136th birth anniversary celebrations of Mannath Padmanabhan, social reformer and founder of Nair Service Society at Perunna near here.

Asserting that the Centre would implement the recommendations of the Verma Committee as soon as it gets the report, he said law, court and police alone were not enough but a social movement was needed to prevent crimes against women.

The government had on December 23 constituted the Committee under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) Verma, former Chief Justice of India, to look into the possible amendments of the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment to criminals in such cases.

"It is the duty of every citizen, both men and women, to create an atmosphere where women are totally safe at home, schools, public places and work places," Antony said.

"Ensuring safety of women not only requires legislative measures but a strong social movement. This has already started in India. Not only political parties but social organisations and NGOs have also a vital role to play in this movement to cleanse the society from the impurities that have accumulated and tainting it," he said.

Lauding the role of Mannath Padmanabhan in reforming the caste-ridden Kerala society in the last century, Antony said it was unfortunate that communal mistrust was becoming a cause for concern in the state again.

If this was allowed to grow unchecked, Kerala would again become a "lunatic asylum" of rigid casteism as said by Swami Vivekananda over a century back, he added.

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