In her first public comments on the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi two weeks ago, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday sought swift action against the culprits.
"Our only wish is that she recovers and comes back to us, and that no time is lost in bringing the perpetrators of such a barbarous act to justice," she said.
At a function to mark the party's 127th anniversary, Gandhi skipped wishing the gathering for the new year after hoisting the party flag at the Congress headquarters. "Not so today because our thoughts are with the young woman who is fighting for her life," she said.
This is the first time when Gandhi publicly commented on the case though she had earlier met the protesters and shot off letters to home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and chief minister Sheila Diskhit in which she described the incident a "matter of shame" and sought steps for women's security in Delhi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke after Gandhi, reiterated that his government was committed to bringing the guilty to justice as soon as possible. "The Congress president has mentioned that we share the anguish and the anger of the country over this heinous crime. Our prayers are with the brave young girl and that best possible medical care is being provided to her," he said.
Gandhi later held a meeting with Singh, senior union ministers, including Shinde, and Dikshit as well. The issue is understood to have been discussed at the meeting.
Rahul Gandhi was not present at Friday's function.