A day after unveiling measures to review laws dealing with sexual assault, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the law will deal with the culprits in the gangrape case in the capital expeditiously.
Singh, addressing the 57th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), asked all chief ministers to pay special attention to the critical area of security of women.
On the brutal gangrape of a paramedical student in New Delhi on December 16, he said, "In this particular case, the culprits have been apprehended, and the law will deal with them expeditiously.
"Let me state categorically that the issue of safety and security of women is of the highest concern to the government. A commission of inquiry is being set up to look into precisely these issues in the capital," the Prime Minister said.
He said there can be no meaningful development without the active participation of half the population and this participation simply cannot take place if their security is not assured.
"I urge all chief ministers to pay special attention to this critical area in their states," Singh said.
Noting that gender inequality needed special attention, the Prime Minister said, "Women and girls represent half the population and our society has not been fair to this half."
Singh said that the socio-economic status of women was improving, but gaps persist.
"The emergence of women in public spaces, which is an absolutely essential part of social emancipation, is accompanied by growing threats to their safety and security," he said.
Referring to the Delhi gangrape, he said, "We must reflect on this problem, which occurs in all states and regions of the country, and which requires greater attention by both the Centre and the states."
Singh said the government has decided to review the present laws and examine the levels of punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault.
"A committee of eminent jurists, headed by the former chief justice of India, Justice J S Verma, has been constituted for this purpose," he said.
The 23-year-old gangrape victim was today flown to Singapore from here in an "extremely critical condition" and was admitted to a multi-organ transplant speciality hospital there.