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President Ram Nath Kovind condemned the “heinous and barbaric” Kathua gang-rape and murder case and said it is the collective responsibility of the society to ensure no girl suffers in the country.

Coming down heavily on the perpetrators of the “shameful” incident, the President questioned the kind of society we have become.

“After 70 years of independence, such an incident occurring in any part of the country is shameful. We have to think what kind of society we are becoming. It is our collective responsibility to ensure such a thing does not happen to any girl or woman,” said President Kovind.

He was addressing the sixth convocation of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Jammu and Kashmir’s Katra.

“The most beautiful thing in this world is the smiling face of a child. And the security of our children is the greatest success of our society. It is a responsibility of the society to give security and a sense of safety to them,” the President said.

Highlighting women’s contribution and success in different fields,  including sports, in India, Kovind said, “Daughters of India have brought laurels to the country in Commonwealth Games 2018 including Manika Batra from Delhi, Mary Kom, Mirabai Chanu and Sangeeta Chanu from Manipur, Manu Bhaker and Vinesh Phogat from Haryana, Saina Nehwal from Telangana and Heena Sidhu from Punjab.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who accompanied him, said, “How can someone do such a cruel thing to a small girl who is a manifestation of Mata Vaishno Devi? There is something wrong with the society.”

The rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl, who belonged to a nomadic Muslim community, took place in January. Her body was found a week later. The charge-sheet accused eight persons of conspiring, brutalising and murdering the girl and revealed chilling details that triggered nationwide outrage.

President Kovind began his two-day Jammu visit on Wednesday morning. He was received by Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The President will visit the Mubarak Mandi heritage site tomorrow before flying back to Delhi, said a NDTV report citing sources.

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