Khap Panchayats: They Hate Love Stories
The horrific cycle of killings to protect the ‘family honour’ engulfed almost the entire nation with reports of brutal elimination of couples by their own kin pouring in from everywhere.
For loving a person in the same ‘gotra’, Monica and her lover Rinku were mercilessly killed in Haryana`s Nimriwali village. The father of Monica, her brother, uncle and cousins were suspected to be behind the crime. They had done this under the guidance and protection of Khap Panchayats, the apex body of caste based councils in villages.
Khap panchayats govern the khaps formed by same gotra (clan) families from several neighbouring villages. Prevalent in Haryana, western UP and Rajasthan, they consider love marriages a taboo. Those living in a Khap are not allowed to marry in the same gotra or even in any gotra from the same village. Khap panchyat imposes its writ through social boycott and fines and in most cases end up either killing or forcing the victims to commit suicide. All this is done in the name of brotherhood and its honour.
The murder of Monica and Rinku forced the Supreme Court of India to interfere in the issue. It issued notices to the Centre, Haryana government and six other states to take action against the killing of young couples.
Alarmed with the rise of honour killings, the Government planned to bring a bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament July 2010 to provide for deterrent punishment for `honour` killings. But as no consensus emerged, the bill’s idea was shelved for the time being.