Daring feats and acrobatics on motorcycles by the military and state police teams kept the crowds spellbound."
Bangalore, Aug 15 - Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Friday warned criminals of stern action for committing crimes against women and girls.
Miscreants, who ill-treat women or girls and commit crimes against them, will be mercilessly dealt with. Police have been instructed to act strictly, Siddaramaiah said while addressing the gathering at the Independence Day function here.
Terming the spate of crimes against women, especially girls in Bangalore disturbing, the chief minister said his government is committed to prevent such incidents by tightening laws and taking stringent action against the accused.
Our government has recently amended the Goonda Act to empower police to arrest perpetrators of crimes against women or girls such as rape. We have also set up 10 special courts to deal with such cases on fast track, Siddaramaiah said addressing the gathering of about 10,000 people.
Citing Mahatma Gandhi who said the day, a woman can walk freely at midnight on the roads, that day we can say India has achieved independence, the chief minister reiterated that Independence Day celebrations would be meaningful only when the poor achieve social and economic independence.
He said most of the atrocities were being committed by friends, relatives or people known to women so such a trend cannot be controlled only by the government or stricter laws.
There is a need for society to join hands with the government to protect women and safeguard their dignity through a social movement against the perpetrators of such crimes, Siddaramaiah asserted in his 30-minute speech in Kannada.
Echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed anguish over increasing crimes such as rapes in his address to the nation in Delhi, Siddaramaiah said the state government has directed schools to set up children safety committees to prevent such incidents.
All school managements have been told to ensure proper antecedents of both non-teaching and teaching staff before recruiting them for service, he added.
Meanwhile, Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm across thr entire state.
Earlier in Bangalore, on a sunny day with a cool breeze blowing, Siddaramaiah unfurled the national flag and reviewed the guard of honour at the Field Marshal Manekshaw parade ground in the city centre amid tight security.
Even as Siddaramaiah took the salute and martial music rent the air, an army chopper showered rose petals from a low altitude over the flower-decked dais, drawing loud cheers from about 10,000 people thronging the venue to witness the colourful event.
After the chief minister's Independence Day speech, about 2,000 personnel representing the three services, state police, home guards, fire brigade, scouts, guides and 3,000 students from various schools across the city staged a march past, drawing applause from the audience, including a few freedom fighters, dignitaries, officials, women and children.
Rendering patriotic songs in Kannada and Hindi, invoking the motherland, staging the first war of independence, enacting the freedom struggle, performing cultural shows and demonstrating martial arts, the participants enthralled the huge gathering for over two hours.
Daring feats and acrobatics on motorcycles by the military and state police teams kept the crowds spellbound.
Later, the chief minister presented I-Day medals and awards to state police officers and distributed prizes to the participating organisations.