Congress President Sonia Gandhi today dismissed suggestions by khap panchayats on how to handle rape cases, and said the only law enforcing body in the country was the judiciary and no one else.
"The law is in the hands of the judiciary and no one else," Gandhi said when asked about the khap panchayat's suggestions.
Among the suggestions made by a khap panchayat leader in the state was to marry off girls earlier in order to prevent rape cases. The comments have been widely condemned in a state that already has one of the lowest sex ratios in the country.
The Congress president was visiting the family of one of the victims of rape in Jind, Hayana. The victim, a teenaged Dalit girl, had committed suicide following the incident.
" I strongly condemn these horrifying acts. I believe those guilty should receive strongest possible punishment," she said.
She also said that incidents of rape were on the rise not only in Haryana but in other parts of country as well. A dozen cases of rape have been reported in the state within a month.
Gandhi's visit to the state comes after the local administration has been accused of apathy in handling the multiple cases of rape that have been reported over the last few weeks in Haryana. Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda was conspicuously absent from the Congress president's visit today and has still not made any official comment on the rape cases.
The Haryana government had already formed a three-member committee at district level to investigate, monitor and ensure speedy prosecution of such crimes.
Rattled by increasing number of rape cases in Haryana, DGP of the state Ranjiv Singh Dalal has directed SPs and SHOs to tour rural areas and increase patrolling.