Delhi gang-rape victim's death: Who said what

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) India's leaders Saturday condoled the death of the young woman who was brutally gang-raped and tortured Dec 16 in the capital. The girl died in Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital early Saturday.

Here are excerpts from what they said:

President Pranab Mukherjee: "She was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women. The nation will mourn the passing of this brave daughter of India. At the same time, let us resolve that this death will not be in vain. We will do everything possible to ensure that such an incident never happens again."

Vice President Hamid Ansari: "A young, promising life has been brutally snatched away in most tragic circumstances. Not only has the family lost a daughter and a sister, but every Indian today is feeling the sense of loss. I hope this heart-rending tragedy would compel us as a people to focus on social norms and practices which are violative of human rights and an impediment to progress in the modern world."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "I join the nation in conveying to her family and friends my deepest condolences at this terrible loss. I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain. We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated. These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change. It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelise these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

Congress president Sonia Gandhi: "Today, all Indians grieve as though they had lost their own beloved daughter, their cherished sister. Today, we pledge that she will get justice, that her fight will not have been in vain. To all of you who have stood vigil, who have expressed your anger and anguish publicly, who have poured out in her support, I want to assure you that your voice has been heard. As a woman and mother I understand how you feel. I appeal to you to remain calm and help strengthen our collective resolve to fight the menace of violence against women."

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi: "My heart goes out to the family of the young girl and millions of Indians and their families who work, hope and pray for a better India. As citizens, we must resolve to respect the dignity of women and follow the laws of the land. I join my mother and sister in offering deep-felt condolences to the young girl's family."

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde: "Her death will not go in vain. There will be maximum punishment for the accused. This incident is a lesson."

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad: "A brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women."

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar: "In her untimely and sad demise, we have lost a courageous daughter of our country who faced life with tremendous strength and fortitude. This fearless girl has become a powerful symbol of the ongoing battle to ensure justice for women and effect social change. She will continue to inspire us for all times to come."

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj: "Her death has shaken the conscience of the nation. We must wake up and make India safe for daughters."

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley: "The entire country should hang its head in shame. This is an occasion to introspect why this woman became a victim of such a terrible crime. The most important thing is to have an alert citizenry. Only alert citizens can force police to act, prevent such crimes from happening."

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit: "Our hearts are burning with grief and shame and this is not the moment for speeches or words, but for deep reflection among ourselves, within ourselves."

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi: "Deeply saddened and distressed by the news of India's braveheart daughter passing away. My deepest condolences to her family."

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu: "Let us collectively resolve not to allow such things to happen in the country. It is time to send a message that we are united, committed and determined and have the political will to take all effective steps to stop such heinous crimes. That will be the real tribute to the brave girl."

Goa BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar: "It is unfortunate and we condole the death of the rape victim. We support the demand for enhancing the maximum penalty for rape to death (from life imprisonment)."

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