Girl having sex at 16 bad for society, say khaps
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The khaps in Rohtak, Haryana have demanded amendment of the Marriage Act and lowering of marriage age for women, after new anti-rape law draft reduced age of sexual consent to 16.
At a mass meeting of the Khap panchayats in Rohtak, dozens of representatives of the village councils from across the state gathered to ponder over the latest amends in the anti-rape law that has now reduced the age for sexual consent from 18 to 16 years.
"The Khap is against the decision to lower age of consent for sex. Either the minimum age for marriage should also be reduced to 16 else this law should be revoked," said Randhir Singh, a village head.
The Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013, which is based on the recommendations of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs) that was tasked with the responsibility.
The bill provides for stringent punishment for crimes against women, including rape. It also defines acid attack, stalking and voyeurism as criminal offences. The proposed bill also lowers the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 years and makes rape a gender-specific offence under which men only can be charged for it. Meanwhile, another village head said that the new law would give a wrong message and instead encourage teenagers for premarital sex and hence it should be rolled back.
"A girl having sex at the age of 16 and getting married at 18 will lead to bad effects in the society. It is but natural that she won't be able to marry because he is already indulging in sex... who will father her child? If the government thinks that a girl can have sexual relations at the age of 16 then it should not hesitate in reducing the minimum age for marriage as well," said Sube Singh, a village head.
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