Narendra Modi's first Independence Day speech as India's prime minister focuses on protecting women from sexual violence
NEW DELHI - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country has been shamed by a series of rapes and called for attitudes towards victims to change.
In a speech to mark India's 68th Independence Day, Modi said parents should not blame daughters for being attacked.
"When we hear about these rapes, our heads hang in shame," said Modi at a gathering of 10,000 in front Delhi’s historic Red Fort.
"Even when they are only 12, young girls are always being asked so many questions by their parents as to where they are going out, but do they ever have the courage to ask their son about his friends or where is he going or why?" Modi said. "After all a rapist is also someone’s son."
In a marked departure from the annual event, the 63-year-old Modi delivered his Independence Day speech without the protection of bulletproof glass.
Modi has raised the issue not long after a six-year old was raped in southern city Bangalore in July, triggering nationwide protests reminiscent of those that followed the death of a woman gang-raped on a Delhi in 2012.
According to a recent report by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, one rape is reported every 30 minutes in India. The report has compiled rape statistics from the year 2001 to 2013, putting the total number of rape cases to 264,130 in 28 Indian states.
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