Khap panchayats in Haryana start to feel the heat
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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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