With the Supreme Court seeking response from Haryana on steps taken to check rising honour killing incidents, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday said law breakers "have faced and will face action".
He also denied that his government was reluctant to act in such cases due to votebank politics. "Haryana Government and the Congress party are of the firm belief that whosoever will take law in their hands, will face action. Be it honour killing or any other act of crime, action has been taken and will be taken in future as well," Hooda told reporters in Chandigarh .
On Sunday, bodies of teenaged lovers-- Monika (18) and Rinku (19) -- were found hanging from a ceiling fan in the house of the girl's uncle at Nimrriwali village, about 7 km from Bhiwani in a suspected case of honour killing. Hooda denied that there was any delay or action was not taken at all in cases of honour killings because there was votebank involved.
"Nobody supports honour killing or any other criminal act. As far as Congress party's stand is concerned, we are very clear that nobody can take law in one's hand. We follow the law and the question of any votebank politics does not arise," he said in response to a question.
There have been a number of other instances in Haryana where young couples were killed because they dared to marry within the same 'gotra' or subcaste, drawing the wrath of Khap Panchayats or self-styled caste councils.
On Supreme Court yesterday seeking a response from Centre and eight states including Haryana on steps taken to prevent 'honour' killing incidents, Hooda said there were other states also from whom response has been sought. "We are clear that law breakers have faced and will face action," the chief minister said.
When pointed out that he had recently said that marriages within the same 'gotra' are not appropriate, Hooda said, "These have been our customs and traditions, especially in most parts in north India, where marriages within the same gotra don't take place. "It is not true for just one caste, but across the castes. These have been our social beliefs and we have been following them."
He, however, parried queries on whether a special session of the state assembly will be convened as demanded by opposition INLD to pass a resolution seeking amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act since it does not address the same gotra marriages issue.
On the incidents of caste violence, including in Mirchpur in Hisar district, Hooda said, "we have taken action wherever any incident has been reported. Police has also been asked to remain firm in dealing with such incidents... However, sometimes some vested interests try to give the whole thing caste or communal colour, which is unfortunate". "Congress party is a secular party and not a communal party and we believe in taking all sections along," he said.
When asked if Congress President Sonia Gandhi had written a letter to him after the Mirchpur incident expressing her anguish over such incidents, Hooda said, "Soniaji is our leader. She is very much concerned. She appreciates our good work and whenever she finds any lapse, she points it out". Meanwhile, Hooda said that the Haryana Government was getting legally examined the H S Chatha Committee report, which has favoured setting up of a separate SGPC for Haryana.
"As soon as we get the legal opinion, we will act on it immediately," he said. State Congress President Phool Chand Mullana said that Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal's) charge that Congress was trying to divide the Sikh community on the issue of separate SGPC was totally baseless.
"It has been the aspiration of the Sikhs of Haryana that they should have a separate SGPC so that money generated from the gurudwaras in the state is spent here. What's wrong in that," Mullana said. Earlier, Kripa Ram Punia, who had left the Congress when former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal was at the helm, today rejoined the party here after 15 years. PTI