President not to take part in New Year celebrations

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) Following the death of a woman after her brutal gang-rape, President Pranab Mukherjee has decided not to take part in New Year celebrations or receive greetings in person.

This is Mukherje's first New Year Day in Rashtrapati Bhavan since his election to the highest post last year.

"In view of the recent tragic event leading to the loss of a young girl, the President has decided not to take part in any celebration of the new year. The President has also decided not to receive any greetings in person," said president's press secretary Venu Rajamony.

The president, who is in Hyderabad, delivered the P.V. Narasimha Rao Memorial Lecture in the city Monday. He is expected to return to the capital Tuesday evening.

"The President has, however, conveyed his best wishes to people for a prosperous and protective New Year ahead. He has urged all citizens to maintain peace, face challenges and strive towards building a strong nation," Rajamony added.

In his message, the president called for dedicating 2013 to improving the security and welfare of women in the country.

"We mark the advent of the New Year under a pall of gloom, as the nation mourns the tragic loss of a brave young girl, who became the victim of a heinous crime," said Mukherjee.