After supporting the idea of Khap Panchayats to reduce the marriageable age of boys and girls to 16 years to curb incidents of sexual assault, former Haryana chief minister Om Parkash Chautala on Thursday made a turn-around, denying that he or his party supported the idea.

“If some Khap or individual has made suggestion about girl’s marriageable age, then it is up to the government to accept it or not. Anybody can give suggestion...but media assumed my support to it (Khap Panchayat suggestion).

“But I want to say that we neither supported it, nor we made such a demand or suggestion,” Mr. Chautala told reporters in Chandigarh.

The INLD leader had yesterday backed the suggestion of Khap Panchayats that marriageable age of boys and girls should be reduced to 16 years to prevent youths from straying.

“I had told media persons on Wednesday that during Mughal era, girls were picked up and they were raped. In order to avoid such incidents and embarrassment to families, girls’ parents used to get their daughters married at an early age,” he said.

Mr. Chautala said INLD had submitted a memorandum to the Haryana Governor demanding a special session of the Assembly to discuss the issue of increasing number of rape cases in the State.

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