Atrocities of rape, murders, harassment on roads, kidnapping and dowry deaths have made women fearful in their own homes, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday while asking countrymen to take a pledge to protect their honour.
Addressing the nation on the eve of 66th Republic Day, he said “it pains me to see that Mother India is not respected by her own children when it comes to the safety of women”.
“Atrocities of rape, murders, harassment on the roads, kidnapping and dowry deaths have made women fearful even in their own homes,” Mukherjee said.
The President said only a nation that respects and empowers its women can become “global power”.
“Every Indian must take a pledge to protect the honour of women from violence of any kind. Only a nation that respects and empowers its women can become a global power,” he said.
“Where have we failed, as parents, teachers and leaders, that our children have forgotten all tenets of decent behaviour and respect for women? We have enacted much legislation but, as Benjamin Franklin had once said and I quote: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”, he said.
The President said the country’s future will remain both visible and elusive “if we do not discover the ability to continually cleanse ourselves of retrograde habits and social ills”.
After cautioning the Government against taking the ordinance route, President Pranab Mukherjee did some plain speaking, saying enacting laws without discussions “breaches the trust” reposed by people and is not good for democracy.
Asserting that religion cannot be made a cause of conflict, President Pranab Mukherjee said “tolerance” and promotion of goodwill between diverse communities needs to be preserved with “utmost care and vigilance”.
The President quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “religion is a force for unity” and said, “we cannot make it a cause of conflict” as wisdom of India always teaches “unity is strength, dominance is weakness.”
The comments of the President came at a time when some right wing parties have been sparking one controversy after another by raising issues like ‘ghar wapsi’, eulogiusing Nathuram Godse, pressing for having 10 kids for increasing Hindu population and some ministers making inappropriate comments about minorities.
Mukherjee said the country had the strength, confidence and determination to defeat architects of “this war against our people.
“Repeated violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control and terrorist attacks must get an integrated response through incisive diplomacy and impregnable security mechanisms. The world must join India in fighting the menace of terrorism,” he said.
On the economic issue, the President said 2015 is a year of hope and key economic indicators provide for “much optimism”.
He said five per cent plus growth rates each in the first two quarter of the current fiscal is “healthy sign for an early reversion to the high growth trajectory of 7-8 per cent.
He said Constitution’s essence lay in four principles: democracy; freedom of faith; gender equality; and an economic upsurge for those trapped in the curse of dire poverty which were made Constitutional obligations.
The country’s resolve to eliminate poverty through inclusive development has to be a step in the direction of Gandhi talisman for the country’s rulers which said whenever you are in doubt, he said.