On a day when a five-month pregnant married Dalit woman, 19, was allegedly abducted and raped by two men in northern Haryana’s Kaithal district, former chief minister and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala supported the khap panchayats’ suggestion of lowering the marriageable age of boys and girls to 16 years to curb incidents of sexual assault.
“The Mughal sultanate in this country used to misbehave with women... to prevent that, people started getting their young girls married early so that no one did anything wrong to them… currently a similar situation is arising in the state,” he said.
The police have claimed to arrest two accused involved in the barbaric incident.
The crime took place within hours after Sonia Gandhi's visit to Jind district to meet the family of a rape victim, who couldn’t bear the trauma and committed suicide.
Offering condolences to the Dalit family at their village home in Jind district, Gandhi said, “I strongly condemn such barbaric incidents of crime against women. The perpetrators of such acts should be given the severest punishment.”
She also took on the khap panchayats, which had suggested lowering the marriage age to serve as a deterrent to such crimes. “We have a democratic set-up and law is in the hands of the judiciary, not anyone else,” she said.
(With agency inputs)