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`Victims` demand ban on self-styled caste councils

Laxman Parmar and his entire family faced a social boycott on the diktats of a self-styled caste council in a Rajasthan village after his brother married a girl of his choice.



New Delhi: Laxman Parmar and his entire
family faced a social boycott on the diktats of a self-styled
caste council in a Rajasthan village after his brother married
a girl of his choice.

Parmar, who is struggling to get his sister married,
is just one of the many `victims` of caste panchayats who
gathered here today to press for a ban on the functioning of
these kangaroo courts.

Sanjoy Sachdev, President of National Journalists
Front, said such panchayats, which have no legal sanctity,
were operating across Rajasthan and openly flouting the
Constitution.
"The elected panchayats have been struggling to
function properly in several places while these caste
panchayats, which have no legal or constitutional validity,
are operating with a strong writ," he said.

Last week, 40-year-old Gajendra and his mistress
allegedly committed suicide along with three members of his
family by jumping before a train after he was asked to pay a
fine of Rs 50,000 or leave the village by a similar panchayat
over his extramarital relationship in Kaurali district, 175 km
from Jaipur.

Veeru Singh, from another Rajasthan village, claimed
his family was thrown out of the community after he supported
his relative, who had refused to sell his land on the
directions of the panchayat.

"We tried to get a case registered with the police,
but despite struggling for several days the police did not
register our case. To top it, I am now being threatened for
trying to take action against the panchayat," he said.

"Now, I am worried, the panchayat will not allow the
wedding of my daughter, scheduled for next month. Even if does
take place, it will not be registered, unless the panchs
attend it and give their approval," he said.
Another victim, Gomaram, from the Mundara village in
Rajasthan, said a caste panchayat ruled against him in a
dispute with his wife. He approached the State Human
Rights Commission, which in turn asked the state SP to submit
his report in the case.

"However, the SP in his report gave enough weightage
to the `panchs of Choudhary panchayat` and the SHRC accepted
his explanation as if the cast panchayat was a legal entity,"
Sachdev alleged.

Demanding a ban on the functioning of such panchayats,
he said he would write to the President, the Prime Minister as
well as the MPs and Rajasthan government to take immediate
note of these activities.

PTI

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