Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that his comments criticising the parents of two minor girls who were gangraped earlier this week were “taken out of context”, ANI reported. On Wednesday, Sawant had blamed the parents for allowing their children to stay on the beach at night.

“When 14-year-olds stay on the beach the whole night, the parents need to introspect,” Sawant had said. “Just because children don’t listen, we cannot put the responsibility on the government and police.”

Amid criticism for the insensitivity of his comment and the law and order situation in Goa, the chief minister on Thursday sought to justify his remark.

“Both as head of a responsible government and as a father of a 14-year-old daughter, I was deeply pained and disturbed [at the incident],” Sawant said. “At no point I have tried to deny the right to security provided by our law.”

Sawant promised “most stringent punishment” for the four people who have been arrested in the case.

On July 25, four men, one of whom is a government employee, posed as police officers and raped the two girls on Benaulim beach. The accused also assaulted two minor boys who were accompanying the girls.

The four men, identified as Asif Hateli, Rajesh Mane, Gajanan Chinchankar and Nitin Yabbal have been arrested on charges of gangrape and extortion. They are currently in police custody, according to The Indian Express.

Mane, employed as a driver in the state’s agriculture department, has also been suspended from service.