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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, October 05, 2013
Strongly defending Khap Panchayats (caste councils), Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday said that they didn't order "honour killings" and that most of such cases involved relatives of boys or girls.

The chief minister emphasised the need to change the mindset of the people who commit such crimes.

"Those behind such killings are parents or close relatives of either the girl or the boy. There is a need to change the mindset of the people. Khap Panchayats don't order such killings," Hooda said while addressing a press conference here.

"Anyone who takes law into hands will be dealt with as per the law," he added.

Haryana, which has a skewed sex ratio, is infamous for such cases, and during the last one month several such incidents came to light. The recent one was from Rohtak where a college going couple were allegedly killed by girl's family members. Their families were opposed to the relation between them.

When asked that 'Khap Panchayats' in Haryana are playing a notorious role, and in some cases ordering the honour killings, Hooda said, "Khap Panchayats don't kill anyone".

"The incidents of honour killings don't take place just in Haryana, but elsewhere too," he said. Asked if the issue was discussed in yesterday's cabinet meeting, Hooda said it was not part of the agenda.

"These (honour killings) are happening everywhere, for which I said that there is a need to change the mindset...law takes its own course. Anybody who takes law in his hands commits a sin, he will be punished," Hooda said.

When a reporter asked that if he was trying to justify such killings by saying they happen everywhere, Hooda replied, "No, don't misquote me, I said nobody is allowed to take the law in his hands, whoever does that will be booked. I am saying that it is a sin...but it is committed either by parents of the girl or a boy, not by the Khap."

Asked about the opposition of Khaps to the same 'Gotra' marriages, Hooda said there are "some customs prevalent in the society".

"Tell me one thing, how many of you marry within the Gotra. I am asking do you marry within your Gotra," he asked.