Sonia Gandhi takes on Haryana khaps over rapes, sends out a warning

Taking a tough stance on the rising number of rapes in the country, especially after a spate of incidents were reported in Haryana, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday sent out a sharp message to Khap panchayats saying they cannot supersede the judiciary. Sonia also said that strictest action will be taken against the culprits in the rape cases. She said those guilty of such heinous crimes, which take place not only in Haryana but elsewhere too, must be “severely punished”.

Visiting the rape victims in Jind, Haryana, Sonia slammed khap panchayats saying India was a democracy and the law of the land was in the hands of the judiciary and “no one else”. The Congress President admitted that rapes were on the rise in the country.

“It is not just restricted to Haryana alone. It is happening everywhere across the country. Strict action will be taken against the culprits,” she said. Sonia is the first national level leader to meet the rape victims of Haryana.

After meeting Sonia Gandhi, the rape victim’s mother said, “I told Soniaji that the criminals should be hanged. Sonia hugged me and said that she was my daughter too and that she will get us justice. I didn’t ask her for anything else.”

Sonia was accompanied by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Minister Kumari Selja, Haryana Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala and Congress MP from Sirsa, Ashok Tanwar. After Sonia’s return, Hooda and Surjewala stayed back to meet the victim’s family. Senior police officials of the State were also present.

The Haryana Government has drawn flak from all quarters, particularly the opposition, for its alleged failure to prevent incidents of crime against women. Asked about the Haryana government’s “failure” in controlling such crimes that also involved many Dalit victims, Sonia said, “I have said what I had to say that such barbaric acts are condemnable”. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda hadn’t met a single victim before Sonia’s visit.

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