Khap panchayats in Haryana start to feel the heat

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 10:13

Chandigarh: The self-styled Khap or
community panchayats in Haryana, whose illegal rulings over
the years have destroyed several families and claimed lives of
many innocent couples, have started to feel the heat now, with
authorities acting against their diktats.



During the past one month, authorities have started
taking action against them, with recent example being of two
lower rung revenue officials who were suspended in Rohtak by
the Deputy Commissioner for being part of an illegal decision
of a "khap panchayat" which had declared a husband and wife as
brother and sister.



Earlier this month, Bhiwani district administration had
suspended two village panchayat members, including a Sarpanch,
on the same grounds.



In the first such case in Haryana in which the affected
family decided to seek justice against illegal Khap diktat, a
court in Karnal on Thursday last convicted six people for the
cold-blooded murder of a young couple and held another person
guilty for abduction in the case.

Manoj (23) and Babli (19), the couple who had eloped and
married against the wishes of the khap panchayat and the
girl`s family, were done to death allegedly by Babli`s family
in June 2007. The panchayat objected to their marriage as two
belonged to the same `gotra` (sub-caste).



According to the police, the girl`s family had managed to
drag the couple out of a bus. Later, Babli was poisoned and
Manoj was strangulated to death.



Their bodies were recovered from a canal. This happened
despite the fact that the couple had policemen provided to
them for security.



There are numerous tales about the medieval diktats of
the khap panchayats in Haryana.



In another shocking incident, 23-year-old Ved Pa Mor,
hailing from Singhwal village in Jind district, was lynched by
residents of his wife Sonia`s village when he went there in
July last year to bring her back.



Armed with a court order to get back his wife, Mor was
accompanied by a Punjab and Haryana High Court warrant officer
and a few policemen when he was attacked.

Again in July last year, a khap panchayat `banished` a
couple Ravinder and Shilpa and Ravinder`s entire family from
their village.



The khap panchayat`s order came on the ground that
Ravinder is a `Gehlot` from Dharana village in Jhajjar while
Shilpa a `Kadyan` from Siwah in Panipat and there was
`bhaichara` (brotherhood) between the two villages, under
which couples of the same gotra cannot marry each other.



Unable to withstand the severe pressure from the khap,
Ravinder, who married Shilpa, attempted suicide, but failed.
He and his family then had to leave for the house of a
relative in another village and later the couple moved to
Delhi.



According to the tradition, those living in khaps are not
allowed to marry in the same gotra. They are not even allowed
to marry a member of any gotra from the same village or the
neighbouring villages.



Earlier this month, a marriage in which the couple
belonged to the same gotra was annulled by the khap
panchayat held at Bhiwani in which former Haryana Chief
Minister Hukam Singh was also present, though he was not part
of the decision-making body.



A panchayat in Samaspur in Bhiwani district had recently
targeted the family of a boy who eloped with a girl of the
same gotra and told them to leave the village.



Sribhagwan, a resident of Samaspur village, had eloped
with Anita Phougat, who lived in nearby Makrani village,
against the wishes of his family members. The khap panchayat
has declared the marriage "illegal".



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 10:13

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