TIMES OF INDIA
JAIPUR: The diktats of khap panchayats, which had destroyed several families in Haryana, have started haunting many in Rajasthan too as several couples from rural areas are coming forward with allegations of victimisation at the hands of these illegal panchayats.
Only recently that the Supreme Court, taking note of a spurt in ‘honour’ killings, had issued notices to the Union Government and eight states including Rajasthan seeking to know the steps taken by them to prevent such incidents. This came after a PIL was filed in this regard by a social organization, Shakti Vahini. The SC direction came close on the heels of a judgment of Haryana court which awarded capital punishment for five members of a khap panchayat for honour killing.
However, both the developments have undeterred the community elders in Rajasthan who claim that they would continue with the practice of settling disputes in village panchayats and prevent same gotra marriage. On May 20, a khap panchayat in Haryana issued a diktat asking a newly wed couple of Alwar to annul their marriage and maintain brother-sister relationship or face the wrath of the panchayat. The couple sought police protection and took shelter at a police quarters in Bhodsi near Gurgaon. However, despite assurance by Rajasthan police to provide protection and prevent the panchayat from taking law into their hands, the groom, Iklas, a constable with India Reserve Battalion (IRB) in Haryana and bride Anjuman of Muradbagh village in Alwar were scared. After their marriage on May 9, the Mev panchayat claimed that the bride and groom were of same gotra and therefore their marriage was null and void.
On May 10, another khap panchayat in Bharatpur announced ‘death sentence’ to a newly wed couple – Ram Niwas (23) and Gayatri Devi – accusing them of flouting the ‘gotra’ norms. “We studied together and fell in love. We told our family about our plan to get married, but they disapproved us saying people from Mahua-Sinthini are considered brothers and sisters. They told us that even the names of two villages are written together,” said Ram Niwas.
A community member in Alwar said the age old tradition cannot be thrown away just like that. “Same gotra marriages are not acceptable by the elders. Therefore we will give verdict to those coming to us for our verdict,” he said. Similarly, Jat leaders in Bharatpur said that same gotra marriages are wrong and therefore it should not be encouraged in our society. “Those who live in community have to adhere by the traditions even if the government opposes it,” said a leader.