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Words of condolence, feelings of sadness

Published on Dec 30, 2012 1:25 PM
A bouquet and a message outside the Indian High Commission in Grange Road, where people showed up yesterday to sign a condolence book. Others offered their sympathy on social media sites. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim from New Delhi moved people in Singapore to show up at the Indian High Commission in Grange Road yesterday to sign the condolence book.

Businessman Rajesh Panda, 39, said he felt "extremely sorry" for the family.

The permanent resident, who has lived here for a decade, added that violence against women is a very serious issue in India that should be addressed.

It has been reported that a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. In New Delhi alone, there were 635 rapes this year, which would mean about one rape every 14 hours.

Business development manager Vijay Badami, a naturalised citizen who moved here from India in 1993, said: "I am extremely shocked and horrified at the brutality which happened to this innocent girl."

The 54-year-old felt that laws in India have to be changed to make the punishment for such cases "more severe".

Mrs Sonali Ahuja-Makhijani, 34, a housewife who is a permanent resident here, said: "Justice needs to be meted out immediately. All mothers should teach their sons to respect women."

She has three sons.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent its condolences to the victim's family, saying it was "saddened" to learn that the physiotherapy student from India had died.

Numerous messages of condolence, including from Singapore ministers, were posted on social media sites.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development Halimah Yacob said on her Facebook page: "Somehow, a tragedy like this cuts across all barriers, because it touches our humanity, and we feel a sense of outrage too."

There are lessons to be learnt from the young woman's death, she said.

"In many societies, women are still treated as inferior beings, not worthy of... respect and dignity."

She said that a Malaysian friend, who oversees gender equality in an international trade union organisation, would tell off male trade unionists who cracked sexist jokes against women.

It was all about respect, said Madam Halimah. "People may think that this is just a small matter... Over time, all the small things add up."

While education, employment opportunities and an effective justice system have raised the standing of Singaporean women, "we too have room to improve", she said.

The Association of Women for Action and Research, in a Facebook post, said: "What a tragic loss of life. Rest In Peace."

More than 400 comments were posted on The Straits Times Facebook page as well.

In a Facebook post, Ms Chen Meijun said: "RIP, sad for her tragic death but at least she's relieved from all the pain and suffering.

"A pity that the life of a young and promising student is wasted just like this. May justice be carried out soon."

Mr Davis Koh Han Rong added: "I'm sure she's not the only person that has suffered this in India. We have to look at it from a bigger perspective... how can we prevent such cases from happening in future... This is one case too many and this is not the first time I'm hearing this as well."