Condemning Haryana's ruling Congress and the Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for their support to khap panchayats, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday said the “political race” on the issue had taken the State back to the medieval ages.

Khap panchayats recently hit the headlines for ordering honour killings of young couples who married within their gotras.

CPI(M) Central Committee member Nilotpal Basu said: “It is really unfortunate that both the Congress and the INLD are taking this sensitive issue as a political race and want to score points…Caste panchayats are enjoying political patronage in Haryana and this is why they are trampling upon the fundamental rights of citizens with impunity.” Mr. Basu demanded effective curb on the “illegal activities” carried out under the garb of community panchayats in the State. “It's unfortunate that in the name of banning same gotra marriage, there have been violence and killings. It is welcome that the NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of the situation on Thursday.”

He added that caste councils were taking the law into their own hands in the name of tradition and political parties were supporting them with an eye on the coming panchayat polls in the State.