Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja on Monday said that the Haryana Government must deal strictly with officials who were careless or had active complicity in the attack on Dalits in Mirchpur village in Hisar district.
Selja, who was here for laying foundation stones of two new gardens, said that there were enough provisions to punish officials, who were irresponsible. "The government should take exemplary action against them," she told reporters at a press conference.
Two persons including a 17-year-old polio-stricken girl were burnt alive when a mob belonging to the dominant Jat community torched several houses belonging to Dalit families last month.
On being asked whether she was satisfied with the state government's handling of the situation, Selja, who is MP from Ambala, said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had taken a serious view of this incident.
"What more can I say on this subject?" she added.
The Union Tourism Minister, who had visited Mirchpur after the incident, was repeatedly asked about the government's response and the flak it has drawn for being "soft' towards the dominant community, but she smartly ducked the queries. Selja was a strong contender for the Chief Minister's post after the 2009 general assembly elections in the state.
On the demand of the khap panchayats for amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to ban same-gotra marriages, Selja said that there was no need for any amendment in the Act and law of the land was supreme. "We should not condemn an entire community just because a few people are trying to impose their outdated ideas," she remarked.
Asked about Congress MP from Kurukshetra Naveen Jindal's statement favoring the demand made by these caste councils, she said that the Congress' stand on the matter was absolutely clear. However, she refused to comment on the view expressed by her party colleague.