Khaps meeting does not endorse lowering marriage age

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 13, 2012 17:51 hrs

Sonipat (Haryana), Oct 13 (IANS) Having hyped the demand made by some of their leaders for lowering of marriageable age for girls to curb rapes in Haryana, a meeting of various khaps of the Jat community held here Saturday did not endorse the demand.

Held under the aegis of Haryana's Sarva Khap Jat Panchayat, which is leading the issue of Jat reservation in government jobs, at Jat Dharamshala here, about 40 km from Delhi, the meeting failed to build a consensus among the khaps on the issue of lowering the age of marriage.

Most of the khap representatives participating at the meeting did not endorse the bizarre suggestion that marriageable age of girls be lowered to curb the rape incidents in the state.

Khap leaders Saturday said that "lowering the marriageable age of girls is not a logical way out to prevent rape incidents".

Representatives of around 100 khaps led by Nafe Singh Nain attended the meeting which lasted about five hours and discussed the issue in detail.

Sube Singh Samain, spokesman of Haryana Sarva Khap Jat Panchayat, who started the controversy over lowering of marriageable age last week, told IANS that no resolution was passed at the meeting on the issue of lowering the marriageable age of girls to check rape incidents in the state as khaps of only Jat community were invited at the meeting.

He said that the meeting was earlier planned only to discuss the Jat reservation in government jobs.

Santosh Dahiya, chief of women cell of Sarva Khap mahapanchayat, told IANS: "There is no co-relation between marriageable age and the rising incidents of rape in the state. Hence suggestion of lowering the marriageable age of girls cannot be termed as logical in any condition.

"When girls aged 10 to 14 years are being subjected to rape then how can you say that early marriage of girls can turn out to be instrumental in preventing rape cases in the state."

Kuldeep Dhanda, president of Dhanda Khap, said a majority of Khap representatives participating at the meeting did not endorse the suggestion of lowering the marriageable age of girls.

"In my personal opinion, lowering the marriageable age of girls is not a solution of checking the heinous crime against women like rape. Though the girls are generally grown up physically at the age of 15-16 years but most of the girls get maturity at the age of 18 and afterward hence the marriageable age of 18 years is logical and appropriate. Thus, there is no need to lower the marriageable age of girls."

Om Prakash Dhankar, chief of Dhankar Khap which represents 34 villages across Haryana, told IANS: "The suggestion of lowering the marriageable age to curb the rape incidents does not have any scientific logic but there should be a provision in law that parents could marry off their girls in early age in some special cases with the permission of state government."

At the meeting, the Khap representatives had also been asked to launch a special programme in their villages concerned to play a vital role in preventing the rising incidents of rape, he added.

Sube Singh however said a mahapanchayat of Khaps of every community will soon be convened to discuss the issue in depth

"It is a key issue and not pertaining just to Jats but opinions of khaps of other communities are also required to raise the demand strongly at state level," he said, adding that the date and venue of the mahapanchayat would be decided by representatives of various khaps in Jind on Oct 19.

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