The new Indian government has pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to violence against women, amid public outrage over the gang rape and murder of two teenage girls in northern part of the country.
Recently, “the country has witnessed some gruesome incidents of violence against women. The government will have a policy of zero tolerance for violence against women,” Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said in a Monday speech to parliament which laid out the government’s vision following Prime Minister Narendra’s election victory in May.
The president promised that the new government would strengthen the criminal justice system “for its effective implementation.”
Modi’s government also pledged to provide toilets and electricity in every home across the country as Mukherjee said India “must not tolerate the indignity of homes without toilets.”
The pledges come after the two low-caste girls, aged 12 and 14, were attacked in a village in northern Uttar Pradesh State last month.
In 2013, India brought in tougher laws against sexual offenders after a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped and savagely beaten on a moving bus and thrown out to a street in New Delhi in 2012. However, the laws have failed to stem the tide of violence against women across the country.
The Modi government would guarantee strict implementation of those laws, Mukherjee added.
Figures released about the number of rape assaults in India reportedly indicate that, every 22 minutes, a rape is committed in the country, which has a population of over 1.2 billion. However, activists say that the actual cases of rapes constitute a higher number as many cases go unreported.
Rape victims in India often receive harsh threats and intimidation from the assailants after the attack, and police often discourage the victims from filing complaints, activists say.