While protests heated up in front of the police headquarters on Saturday in New Delhi over the brutal rape of a five year old girl, various politicians, both from the ruling coalition and the opposition have strongly condemned the act.
President Pranab Mukherjee said he was "shocked and deeply anguished" by the heinous act. "As a society, we must introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure the security of our women and children.
"We must identify the causes and find solutions for such criminal depravity in our midst," he added.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi condemned the act and said tough action was needed, adding: "Action and not words, required to check incidents like this heinous rape of a five-year-old." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too commented that he was "deeply shocked" by the news.
Speaking about the police personnel who allegedly tried to hush up the matter, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, "An enquiry is going on to find out if there was any lapse on the part of police. We will take action against the policemen who are found to be guilty. We are waiting for the report. Give us some time, we will take action."
Leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj too condemned the act, saying this was not a crime but symptomatic of a "mental sickness" in society and prescribed "shock treatment" to jolt it out of the system.
She strongly advocated the death penalty for such convicts, saying making an example of a few might deter others from committing such crimes.
"The home minister should call a meeting and there should be a death sentence in case of rape against children and such brutal acts. There should be immediate implementation of the punishment," she said.
Vice president Hamid Ansari too reacted with shock, saying "We must ensure that the best possible medical treatment is provided to the little one.
"Apart from bringing the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice expeditiously, it is critical for all of us to reflect on why these barbaric acts keep recurring in our midst."
The young girl, meanwhile, is in a stable condition. Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have informed that she was out of danger but was being kept under careful observation.