'Don't lower marriageable age'

The All India Democratic Women’s Association on Saturday condemned the demand of some khap panchayat leaders of Haryana to lower the marriageable age in India. The panchayat leaders said this will act as a means to curb incidents of rape in the state.

The AIDWA statement said khap leaders exhibit a total lack of understanding about rape being used as a tool of violent aggression in a male dominant and caste ridden society.
The association said this demand also revealed khap panchayat’s regressive stance vis-a-vis the rights of girls not to be forced into early marriages.  

“Statements like these imply that girls are themselves responsible for the violence perpetrated on them. Instead of sending out a strong message against rapists, these self-styled panchayat leaders are justifying sexual violence and extending impunity to the offenders by shifting the blame elsewhere,” said AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundararaman.

She said the marriageable age for women should be 18 and above, as decreed by law right now. The statement said, “It should be noted that some of the recent rape cases reported from Haryana are of upper caste men raping Dalit girls of the same village.”

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