Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said the "shameful social attitudes that lead to unspeakable atrocities" on women would not be tolerated, and noted that the gangrape in Delhi on December 16 last year had shaken the country.
Gandhi also tore into leaders who made "derogatory statements" against women in the aftermath of the crime against the 23-year-old physiotherapy student who died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
"Some public figures have come out with truly shocking statements, reflective of these completely unacceptable attitudes," she said in her opening remarks at the All India Congress Committee session here. "Every woman in the country has the fundamental right to feel safe and secure. People are rightly demanding answers and actions."
She said the physiotherapy student had tragically become a symbol for thousands of women who suffered a similar fate. "This brave young woman in many ways embodied the spirit of an aspirational India. We will ensure her death will not have been in vain."
Gandhi did not mention coalition politics at the AICC session, unlike at the two-day chintan shivir (brainstorming session) that concluded on Saturday, but told party leaders and workers to unite for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
Reiterating her tough stand on fighting corruption, she said, "Corruption at all levels is a deep-rooted malaise and all sections of our society are affected by it. We must, as a party, lead a determined struggle to combat it effectively."
Gandhi noted that the UPA government had stepped up its fight against corruption after the party's Burari plenary in December 2010 by initiating several measures such as introducing the lokpal bill in Parliament, transparency in process of allocating natural resources and reviewing discretionary powers of ministers.
She said global recession had forced the Centre to take some hard decisions. Gandhi exhorted her party leaders to explain to the people the reasons for these unpopular measures and also the steps taken by the government to ease inflation.