A day after his shocking support for the Khap Panchayat’s diktat for early marriage to avoid rapes, former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal Chief Om Prakash Chautala on Thursday did a U-turn and said that while the Khaps were free to give suggestions it was up to the government to accept or reject it.
“If some Khap or individual has made suggestion about girls marriageable age, then it is up to the government to accept or reject it. Anybody can make suggestions...But media assumed my support to it (Khap Panchayat’s suggestion).
“I want to say that we neither supported it, nor made any such demand or suggestion,” Chautala said in a press conference in Chandigarh. After failing to check the menace of rising rape incidents in the state, the Congress Government in the state had asked the Khap Panchayats -- the group of village elderly -- to help it in curbing rape in the state. The Rohtak-based Khap came out with a solution that the marriageable age of girls should be reduced to 16 years.
On Wednesday, Chautala had said: “We should learn from the past…especially in the Mughal era, people used to marry their girls to save them from Mughal atrocities and currently a similar situation is arising in the state. I think that is the reason the Khap took such a decision and I support it.”
However, on Thursday explaining his remarks the former chief minister said: “I had told the media on Wednesday that during Mughal era, girls were picked up and they were raped. In order to avoid such incidents and embarrassment to families, parents used to get their daughters married at an early age,” he said. He said that INLD had submitted a memorandum to the Haryana Governor demanding a special session of the Assembly to discuss the issue of increasing number of rape cases in the State.