Responding to the proposal of the government to lower the age of girls for consensual sex from 18 to 16 years in the anti-rape Bill, khap leaders have sought an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act to also lower the marriageable age of girls.
Baljit Malik, pradhan of Gathwala khap, said in a press release that if the government was of the view that 16 years was a ripe age for sex, it should not hesitate to lower the marriageable age as well.
Warning the state government, Malik, an advocate, said, "Khap panchayats will not tolerate such double standards. We may retaliate by launching an agitation."
Kuldeep Dhanda, convener, Sarv Jateeya Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat, is apprehensive about the anti-rape Bill. "Don't take a one-sided view. Any law allowing consensual sex at the age of 16 will be open to misuse. And why should the age be lowered only in case of girls?" asked Dhanda.
He said that instead of making stalking and staring at girls a non-bailable offence, the government should introduce methods to instill morality in its citizens with an aim of creating a crime-free society.