“We should pay more attention to where our girls are going. Mobile phones should be banned,” says Ranvir Singh, head of the Dahiya Khap. That’s his solution to the increasing number of rapes in Haryana. “We should stop our girls from wearing jeans.”
With 19 rapes being reported in a month, Haryana is in the news. On Saturday, the Sarva Jaat Khap Mahapanchayat met in Sonepat. “If consensual sex with a 16 year old is not rape then why the girls cannot be married at 16?” asks Sube Singh Samain to the 160 representatives of the various Khaps .
Most of the politicians in the state do not want to cross swords with the Khap Panchayats that can sway the electorates. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Union Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath have remained silent about the Khaps’ latest diktat of marrying off the girls early.
Earlier, Khaps were criticised for their unwritten support to the killings of couples in the state who dared to marry within the same gotra (clan) or village. In 2010, Khaps had demanded prohibition of such marriages, and politicians like Om Prakash Chautala and Naveen Jindal had supported the demand.