Amid an outrage over a string of rape cases in Haryana, Khap panchayats in the State have come out with a suggestion to do away with the marriageable age limit, claiming it will check such crimes, while the ruling Congress saw a “conspiracy” in the incidents.

Concerned over teenaged girls being targeted, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Sunday stepped in seeking explanation from the State government in each case, including action taken against culprits.

“Boys and girls should be married by the time they turn 16, so that they do not stray... this will decrease the incidents of rape,” Sube Singh, a Khap representative, said.

Another Khap member said, “As soon as the children attain puberty, it is natural for them to have sexual desires but when these are not fulfilled, they stray... so there should not be any minimum age limit for marriage.”

The comments from members of the influential caste councils came a day after a teenaged Dalit girl immolated herself after she was raped in Narwana area in Jind district, the 12th incident of rape in Haryana within a month.

Four persons, including a woman, were arrested in connection with the incidents. The main accused Pradeep and Naveen were arrested on Sunday.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the culprits would not be spared and Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal asked social organisations and Khap panchayats to come forward to give a fitting reply to those who committed atrocities against women. — PTI