Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday said any violence against women should not be seen through the prism of religion and such incidents should be condemned outrightly by all without any prejudice.
In his address at an event organised to roll out a month-long campaign against gender-based discrimination and violence, Mr Singh noted that women often do not raise their voices against violence and are silent even after being a victim as they fear what people will think about them.
"People today discuss (various issues) in the world of television. But, it is unfortunate for India's polity that daughters' pain is assessed on the basis of their religion," he said.
"I am witnessing today that some women speak up (against gender-based violence) while others do not because people make political remarks (on their sufferings) based on the religion of these didis (elder sisters)," the minister for rural development and Panchayati Raj said.
Mr Singh called upon his ministry's team to spearhead the nationwide campaign, 'Nai Chetna', by taking everyone along The government is committed to ending gender-related violence, he said and asked his ministry to take everyone along in the mission to make women self-reliant and instill confidence in them to the extent they speak up against gender-based violence.
"Any violence against women should not be seen through the prism of religion and it should be condemned outrightly by all without any prejudice," the ministry quoted Mr Singh as saying in a statement later.
At the event which marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the minister also remotely inaugurated 160 gender resource centres across 13 states.
Stressing on ending violence against women, Mr Singh called upon women not to tolerate violence, and expressed his government's commitment towards ending gender-based discrimination.
"(The Narendra) Modi government is committed to women's empowerment just as it is dedicated to development. Under the Modi government women have been included in the army as well," Singh said.
The minister also suggested that women should be provided martial arts training for self defense.
On the occasion, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Niranjan Jyoti said the 'Sanatan' religion gives equal status to women, and blamed invasions and cultural changes brought in by it for the prevailing gender discrimination.
"Women have always been worshipped in India. Gender discrimination was not a part of Indian culture," she said.
"After the invasions, beautiful women were being abducted, and hence, the 'parda' system came... It is not our tradition," Jyoti said.
The minister also recounted an incident when a bus conductor misbehaved with her.
"I slapped him four times... We need to be strong no one will dare to touch us. I am the daughter of an uneducated father, became a 'sanyasi' at the age of 14, no one ever dared to even look at me," she said.
Rural Development Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha also stressed that women should not tolerate violence and seek help.
"It is not right to tolerate violence. If there is violence they should seek support. We need to celebrate the life of women who have sought support in case of gender violence. They should be made heroes," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)