India on Monday rejected the United Nations’ criticism of the alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balrampur in UP, saying the world body should refrain from making “unwarranted” statements while the investigation is underway.
“Some unwarranted comments have been made by the UN Resident Coordinator regarding some recent cases of violence against women. UN Resident Coordinator in India should be aware that these cases have been taken extremely seriously by the government,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
“Since the investigation process is still underway, any unnecessary comments by an external agency are best avoided. The Constitution guarantees equality to all citizens of India. As a democracy, we have a time-tested record of providing justice to all sections of our society,” he said.
Calling for attention to cases of sexual violence against women and girls in India, the UN Mission in India said on Monday that the alleged rape and murder in UP’s Hathras and Balrampur are a reminder that those from disadvantaged social groups are at greater risk of gender-based violence.
In a statement, the UN said it is essential that authorities ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice speedily and families are empowered to seek timely justice, social support, counselling, healthcare and rehabilitation.
“The recent cases of alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balarampur are another reminder that despite the impressive progress made on a number of social indicators, women and girls from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk of gender-based violence,” it said.
The steps being taken by the Indian government to strengthen safety measures for women and girls are welcome and urgent, the United Nations said.
“We support the Prime Minister’s call for strict action against the culprits. Entrenched social norms and behaviour of men and boys that lead to gender-based violence must be addressed,” it said.