Panaji, Jul 30 (IANS): Slammed for urging parents to introspect about allowing minors to hang out at beaches after nightfall, after the rape of two minor girls, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday claimed that his statement was taken out of context.
"My statement about the unfortunate incident was taken out of context. Both as head of a responsible government and as a father of a 14-year-old daughter, I was deeply pained and disturbed. The pain of this incident is inexplicable," Sawant said in a social media post.
"At no point, I have tried to deny the right to security provided by our law. Goa Police has been a truly professional force especially when it comes to the security of women and children. They have already acted swiftly and arrested the accused, and let me assure you that I shall ensure that the culprits get the most stringent punishment under the law. The safety of our citizens is always my govt's top priority," he also said.
Sawant also said that the safety of children needs to be a "shared responsibility" and that the right to security has to be strengthened further with more cautiousness and that children, especially minors, need guidance from their elders.
"There is a curfew imposed in the State, and people are restricted at public places. So when I spoke about a shared responsibility for minor children, it was out of concern, care and love for my fellow citizens and our children. We all love our kids. Being the Chief Minister my feeling of concern is extended to all the children of Goa," Sawant said.
"I, both as an individual and as the CM can never ever directly, indirectly or remotely hurt the sentiments of my fellow citizens of Goa. I put this on record today. I reiterate that in matters that concern the safety and security of our children, there will be no compromise. Let there be no place for misunderstanding," Sawant said.
The Opposition had demanded an apology from the CM over his comments earlier.
On Wednesday, Sawant in a discussion during the Monsoon Assembly Session had said that parents should introspect why their minor wards are allowed to spend time on beaches after dark.
"Ten children went for a party on the beach. Out of the 10, six returned home. The remaining four, including two boys and two girls, stayed on the beach the whole night. When a 14-year old girl spends the night on the beach, the parents too have to introspect, they too should be taking care," Sawant had said.
On the night of July 24, two minor girls were raped at the Colva beach in South Goa. Four persons, including a government servant, have been arrested in connection with the crime.