statesman news service
CHANDIGARH, 5 OCT: Defending khap panchayats (community councils), Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said they had no role to play in honour killings.
Speaking to reporters at the Chandigarh Press Club, the chief minister said khap panchayats have neither killed anyone or ordered such killings.
Describing "honour killings" as a sin, Mr Hooda said it is family members of couples, married in the same gotra (clan) against the wish of their parents,  who are responsible for such killings.
"Honour killings do not occur only in Haryana but all over the country and generally, parents of either the boy or the girl are responsible for such incidents, therefore, there is a need to change the mindset of the people," he said adding that anyone who takes the law into their hands will be dealt with as per the law.
Mr Hooda  said khap panchayats have a social status in the state but no legal sanctity. He said it was a tradition in this part of the country that people do not solemnise marriages in the same gotra and at the same time there are states in the country where people do marry even within close relations.
Mr Hooda also said, "No, don’t misquote me, I said nobody is allowed to take the law in his own hands, whoever does so will be booked".
"You may marry within your gotra as you may be thinking that being a journalist you are above the society, but I follow the traditions of my society," he told a reporter who asked Mr Hooda if he supported such traditions.
When asked if he was supporting khaps to gain the political mileage from khap panchayats, the chief minister said that in politics, he used the policies of the Congress to garner support and had never used khap panchayats or casteism to gain political mileage.