Opposing the demand for death penalty for rapists, Khaps in Haryana on Sunday said no law should be introduced in a hurry which can be misused.
Speaking at a village in Hisar, Khap leader Sube Singh said that the authorities should not be carried away by emotions in the wake of the public protests over the gang-rape issue and demand for death penalty for rapists.
"We have seen the anti-dowry Act and the SC/ST Act being misused. Any new law which gives such harsh punishment would also be vulnerable to misuse," Singh said.
The influential Khaps or caste panchayats have in the past drawn flak for opposing marriages in the same sect and their diktats on moral policing.
The statement by the Khap leader raised hackles of activists who said it was an attempt to shield the rapists in Haryana.
"20 gang-rapes took place in Haryana in which several people are involved. This is a plot to save them. This atmosphere forces them to...disrespect among women," Jagmati Sangwan, general secretary of the All-India Democratic Women's Association, said.
The controversy comes in the midst of national outrage over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi who died on Friday night.