New Delhi: Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on Thursday seemed to have toned down his stance on rapes, albeit he did not totally disown it. After widespread criticism over his backing to the khap Panchayat's bizarre views on rapes and solutions to sexual crimes, the Haryana Opposition leader on Thursday said that he did not support their idea. However, in the same breath he added that he did not oppose it either.
"If any khap or any person has talked about lowering the marriage age of girls, it is only a suggestion to the government. It is up to the government to decide to go ahead with it. I am making it clear that neither do I support the idea nor oppose it," Chautala said.
Chautala on Wednesday backed khap Panchayat leaders' bizarre solution for rape. He also compared the rapes in Haryana to those during the Mughal period. He said that in the Mughal era, people used to marry their girls to save them from atrocities of the rulers and currently a similar situation was arising in the state. "I completely support the khap Panchayat's decision. It is a good way to protect women," Chautala said.
This comes even as the number of rape cases continues to rise in Haryana. In a shocking reaction to the recent spate of rape cases in Haryana, khap Panchayat members blamed girls for such incidents. One khap Panchyat member gave a bizzare solution and suggested that the marriageable age for girls should be reduced to 16 years.
When asked why rapes are occurring at this scale in Haryana, Sube Singh said that movies and television are to be blamed for rapes. "I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur," commented Singh.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had on Tuesday lashed out at the Khap Panchayats saying only judiciary will decide the law and not Khap Panchayats. She met a rape victim in Jind on Tuesday.