Western influence was one of the main reasons behind the rise in incidents of rape in the country, Sankaracharya of Puri Swami Sri Nischalananda Saraswati said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The western influence -- films, club culture and drugs has destroyed the age old values and principles of the country. "There is need to change this. Before Independence we were able to maintain our culture and values but in the last 65 years we have lost a great part of it."
"Such horrific incidents (Delhi gang rape) don't happen all of a sudden. They happen when the thin line of culture and values are crossed in the name of civilisation and development."
The people, the holy man said, should ponder over this and ensure that such incidents don't happen.
"Earlier sisters and brothers roamed freely but nothing used to happen. There has been decline in human values, emotions ... Our culture and civilization teaches us to respect women, who are our sisters and mothers," he said.
Asked for his comment on the brutal killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani army, the Sankaracharya said the incident was barbaric and against human values.
Accusing the government of not being strong enough to deal with such incidents, he said "We need to think why is the image of the government and the country so weak that a neighbouring country doesn't think twice before perpetuating such an act."