Chandigarh: Condemning Haryana`s ruling Congress and the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for their support to khap panchayats, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said Friday that the "political race" on the issue was throwing the state back into the medieval ages.
"It is really unfortunate that both the Congress and the INLD are taking this issue as a political race and want to score points. At this time, instead of treading the path of development, it is an attempt to throw the state back to medieval age," CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu told reporters.
"We are very annoyed with the attitude of the Haryana government and the chief minister. The state government should take stern action against khaps to save the law but they are playing politics on this sensitive issue."
Khap panchayats are demanding an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act and a ban on marriages within the same `gotra` or lineage.
"Marriage is a matter between two individuals. They are socially boycotting couples marrying within the same gotra and even murdering them. This is totally intolerable," stated Basu.
"I do not know why they are creating a hue and cry over the issue of amending the Hindu Marriage Act. This is a demand of a very small section of the society; moreover this act was constituted after a long debate and discussions and nobody can change it like this."
According to Basu, a member of the CPI-M central committee, khap panchayats made their demand after the Karnal court verdict on the Manoj-Babli case -- the court sentenced five people to death and one person to life imprisonment for killing the couple who had married in 2007 despite family opposition because they belonged to the same gotra.
Basu said panchayats now realised that the law was becoming strict.
"Therefore they have started this propaganda with hidden agenda. This is their clear challenge to the rule of law," said Basu.
Inderjit Singh, party secretary (Haryana), said khap panchayats were "trying to distort history".
"Some antisocial elements are only using khap names to save their identity. We want common people to immediately isolate them so that they don`t give the impression that they represent all of Haryana."