“The Mirchpur episode was the most unfortunate and my regime will ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said on Sunday.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu at his residence here, he said strict instructions had been given to the district authorities to take action, when clashes occurred between individuals, to prevent such incidents from assuming a communal or casteist shape.

(In April last, two Dalits were killed and many houses torched in Mirchpur village in Hisar district of Haryana.)

It would be the responsibility of the authorities to monitor such situations and take timely action against “miscreants” trying to spoil harmony among castes and communities.

On the controversies surrounding the “aggressive” stand of the khap panchayats regarding marriages in the same gotra (caste/sub-caste) and their demand for amendment of the Hindu Marriage Act to ban such marriages, Mr. Hooda reiterated that the khaps were more akin to non-governmental organisations, which had been doing social work for centuries and people were by and large happy with their functioning.

While asserting that his regime would not allow anyone to violate law, he added that under existing customs same-gotra marriages were frowned upon by a majority of the castes and religions and not the Jats alone.

“However, I do not see any merit in the demand to amend the Hindu Marriage Act as there is already a provision in it which prohibits marriages which are not part of the traditional customs,” he added.

Replying to another question, he said that in his personal view it was wrong to blame the khap panchayats for inciting “honour killings.” Rather, evidence suggested that the “honour killings” were done by the close relatives of either the boy or the girl. The district authorities had been directed to take strict action against those indulging in such heinous activities.

'My government works'

On the perception among people that the bureaucracy was usually not accessible so far as redress of grievances was concerned, Mr. Hooda's cryptic reply was: “My government works.''

He said his regime had taken several initiatives to ensure that officials were accessible to the people. And the recent endeavours to go in for e-governance and launching of “Harsamadhan” would further ensure that the “grievances” reached the powers that be so that quick and effective solutions could be implemented.