President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that it was “shameful” that an incident like the Kathua rape and murder could happen in India 70 years after the country had gained independence, ANI reported.

“We have to think of what kind of society we are developing,” Kovind told students at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra. “It is our responsibility to ensure that such a thing does not happen again to any girl or woman.”

Eight people, including a juvenile, are accused of abducting an eight-year-old child, holding her captive in a temple, drugging and raping her repeatedly before murdering her. Her body was found in the forests near Rasana in Jammu and Kashmir on January 17. The crime sparked statewide protests – and counter protests by the Hindu Ekta Manch – regarding the arrest of the accused. A group of lawyers had also tried to stop the police from filing the chargesheet in the case.

“How can someone do such a cruel thing to a small girl, who is the manifestation of Mata Vaishno Devi?” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was also at the gathering, said. “There is something wrong with society.”

Kovind also praised the Commonwealth Games winners. He said “daughters of India” like Manika Batra, Mary Kom, Mirabai Chanu, Sangeeta Chanu, Manu Bhaker, Vinesh Phogat, Saina Nehwal and Heena Sidhu had brought laurels to the country by winning medals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.