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Modi urges end to violence against women

Aug 15, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT
VARANASI, INDIA - MAY 17: (L-R) BJP leader Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh gesture to the crowd after they performed the Hindu Ganga Puja prayer ritual at the Dashaswamadeh Ghat on the Holy River Ganges the day after his landslide election victory on May 17, 2014 in Varanasi, India. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his highly-anticipated Independence Day speech to confront the issue of rape, in the face of rising sexual assaults in the country.

Modi had some strong words about the issue, as the Washington Post reports:

Breaking his silence on rising sexual assaults against women, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told parents to raise their sons properly during a wide-ranging and highly anticipated first Independence Day speech.
Although he spoke extensively about women’s safety during the election campaign, Modi had remained largely silent on the issue after assuming office in May. On Friday, he said stringent laws would address the crimes, but he also reminded families of their responsibility to raise their sons well.
“Today as we hear about the incidents of rapes, our head hangs in shame,” Modi said. “Do parents dare to ask their sons: ‘Where are you going? Why are you going? Who are your friends?’ After all, the rapist is also someone’s son. If only parents would decide to put as many restrictions on their sons as they do on their own daughters.”
As TodayOnline points out, Modi's speech was a marked departure from his predecessors approach to the annual event:
Departing from the more formal style of his predecessors, Mr Modi, 63, spoke without a prepared speech against the backdrop of the regal Red Fort in New Delhi. In a further nod to the distance he intends to put between him and those who came before, he called himself a newcomer to the capital, “untouchable to the elite class of Delhi” — a distinction he has made in the past.
Driving home his point, Mr Modi saved perhaps his harshest words for New Delhi’s bureaucrats. “I saw that even in one government, there were dozens of governments. It was as if each had its own fiefdoms,” he said, touching on a key concern for many Indians, who have come to revile the layers of bureaucracy and rampant corruption.