Monday, January 7, 2013

Jeans and T-shirts for girls banned in Hisar, Haryana by Khap

HISAR, HARYANA, INDIA: A Khap Panchayat in a Khedar village of Hisar District has banned mobile phones for youngsters and ordered girls not to wear jeans and T-shirts. Organizing a DJ party is out of bounds and a complete prohibition on liquor has also been issued.

The decision was taken by the Panchayat at Khedar villageof Hisar District. Sarpanch Shamsher Singh said, "We have decided to ban alcohol as it is the main reason behind rapes. We have also banned jeans and T-shirts for girl students as it is not a proper dress."

Shanti Devi, a middle-aged woman present at the Panchayat said, "The decision of the Panchayat is good and will check the harassment of girls. Poor dressing is the main reason behind rapes". The Panchayat formed an 11-member committee to ensure that the decision is implemented. "We welcome the decision of the Panchayat and anyone organizing a DJ party in the village will be fined Rs 11,000. Our main purpose is to close the alcohol shops in the village as liquor is the main reason behind attacks on women," said Panch Mr. Mahaveer Singh, a resident of the village.

Youngsters have opposed the diktat. "The decisions will prove to be counter-productive. The mobiles can be useful in alerting parents or the police in case of assaults," said Mr. Ram Kishan, a young man from the village. Another man, who termed the khap diktat outlandish, irrelevant and objectionable, said on anonymity: "These people are vindictive. If we question their decision they will ban us from the village."

Reference by:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honour Killing - Man featured in Aamir Khan's show on honour killing murdered in Western Uttar Pradesh


Bulandshahr, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India: Five months after a young couple appeared on Aamir Khan's television show, Satyamev Jayate, and talked about the threat to their lives because they had married without their parents' consent, the man was shot dead near his village in western Uttar Pradesh on Thursday evening, allegedly by his wife's brothers.

Abdul Hakim, 28, and his 26-year-old wife Mehwish, both Muslims hailing from families with different social standing, had been living under the protection of an NGO in Delhi since May last year. About 15 days ago, Hakim and his wife, who is nine months pregnant, went to meet his ailing mother near Adoli village in Bulandshahr district. He was shot there, while on his way home from the local police station.

The couple, who were neighbours at Adoli, ran away together two years ago after marrying secretly in June 2009. According to Mehwish, her family was opposed to the match because Hakim was poor and belonged to the 'lower' Fakir community. Hakim's father was earlier allegedly killed by Mehwish's family in the village, although it was shown as suicide in police records.

"They would not let us live in peace and now they have taken their revenge," she said on Monday.

"The couple was scared even before coming to the show," Aamir Khan told reporters in Jaipur. "We didn't force anyone to come to the show. The incident is highly unfortunate and shameful."

UP police, meanwhile, have spun an elaborate theory saying the killing was an act of "personal enmity" going back to the time when the couple was in Delhi. But Mehwish and her Delhi-based shelter-providers, Love Commandos, said it was a clear case of murder involving her brothers.

Bulandshahr circle officer Lal S Yadav said Hakim was a victim of a family feud that had its roots in Delhi. "The girl's family had come to accept the marriage. Nothing indicates this murder is linked to the couple's marriage," he claimed.

Yadav added that Hakim's nephew, Salman, had entered into a brawl on June 6 and the alleged killers wanted him to take back the police case lodged against them. "Hakim's death was a result of this feud," said Yadav.

The couple, after a 12-year courtship, had secretly married on June 5, 2009. They kept living with their respective parents till Mehwish's family fixed her marriage for November 11, 2010. The couple then eloped on October 29. Till then, exchanging letters across a brick wall was the only source of communication between the two.

Mehwish's family then announced a bounty on the couple's capture. In May 2011, the pair started living in a shelter in Delhi provided by Love Commandos, an organization that works to eradicate 'honour killings'. This was the first time they had returned to their village, where Hakim also had a police case lodged against him of kidnapping Mehwish.

The nation became aware of the couple's struggles when they were featured in Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate on June 3.

"On June 30, the National Commission for Women ordered UP police to protect the two. But this directive was ignored. They asked Hakim to come down to Bulandshahr to record his statement. When he refused, they never contacted him again," Sanjoy Sachdev, chairman of Love Commando, said. The area SSP, however, offered to review his security.

Meanwhile, a girl was born to the couple bringing fresh hope that relations between the two families would normalize. But that was not to be.

"I didn't know people of my own village had arranged for weapons to kill us. I am the next target," a shocked Mehwish said.

Hakim's family had moved to Bhargardi village, 2km away from Adoli. But his father, Abdul Hafiz, refused to leave his ancestral house and stayed back. On July 6, 2011 Hakim's nephew Salman visited an ailing Hafiz to know about his well-being and on his way home, he was allegedly assaulted by Mehwish's relatives. When Salman reported the matter to the police, a non-cognizable report was lodged.

Enraged over the police case, the accused allegedly reached the house of an ailing Abul Hafiz, hanged him upside from a tree right outside his house and assaulted him in full public view. When Abdul Hafiz's wife Shahooran, who had come to stay with her ailing husband, intervened, she too was assaulted. Hafiz died hanging from the tree. The police, however, saw the incident as suicide.

The couple was on the run when Mehwish gave birth to a baby girl who was now a year-and-a-half. In August 2012, when Mehwish got pregnant for the second time, she reached Bhargardi village to stay with Hakim's family for the delivery. Hakim used to visit her once or twice a week. On November 20, Hakim visited Mehwish when he was informed that people were on the lookout for him.

Hakim lodged a complaint with the local police the same day but no action followed. On Noveber 22, he was walking back after buying medicines for his wife when he was intercepted by three persons who shot him dead in public view around 4.30pm.

Actor Aamir Khan said he is aware of the incident and would speak to the authorities to ensure the safety of the rest of the family. He described the murder as "disturbing and unfortunate". "I will speak to government authorities in UP to help and ensure the family is safe. The culprits must be brought to book. The case must be registered on basis of facts," the actor said.


The frequency with which 'honour' killings are taking place in various parts of the country, particularly in the north, is a testament to the inability of the state to act decisively in this matter. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that at least some of this inability is rooted in an unwillingness to act. This could either be because the values reflected by these killings are shared by those supposed to enforce the law or because it is considered politically costly to take them on. This must change. Our elected representatives and civil servants are sworn to uphold the values enshrined in the constitution and they must do so. If perpetrators of this kind of medieval 'justice' are swiftly brought to justice, others who share their mindsets might think twice before acting on their impulses.

Reference By:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Karnataka HighCourt tells Army- Don't behave like a khap panchayat

Karnataka HighCourt tells Army- Don't behave like a khap panchayat

BANGALORE, KARNATAKA, INDIA: A bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen of the Karnataka high court on Tuesday compared the Army to a khap panchayat for blocking a young officer's bid to marry a 29-year-old Sri Lankan woman he's in love with.

Major Vikas Kumar's (Indian Army) dreams of marrying the Bangalore-based 29-year old Sri Lankan student hit a roadblock with the Army ordering an investigation into "the purpose behind him coming in contact with a foreign national". In response to his plea to quit since service rules bar officers from marrying foreigners, his commanders refused to relieve him, citing a severe staff crunch. The signals corps officer then went to court.

A division bench presided over by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen Tuesday reserved judgment on an appeal filed by the Union government challenging an order of a single judge bench which had ruled in Maj. Kumar's favor.

Displeased with the arguments of the government counsel, Justice Vikramajit Sen observed: "This is not a khap panchayat, this is the Army." He also said, "We can't understand the Army's stand at all. This is most unfortunate for the man. One of India's Presidents, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was married to a foreigner." (A reference to K R Narayanan who was married to Ma Tint Tint of Myanmarese origin).

Maj Kumar won round one of the legal battle this June. A single judge of the high court ruled in his favour saying, "The Army can't refuse his request for release from the services since he wants to marry a foreign national." The Union government challenged the order in the division bench.

The government counsel argued, "We have ordered an investigation to find out under what circumstances and for what purpose he has come in contact with a foreign national. Also, his regiment is severely short-staffed, so we cannot relieve him."

Maj. Kumar's advocate told the court he filed his second petition after the single judge's order had been pending with the Army for about four months. "As per the rules, you were expected to decide the application within 120 days either saying Yes or No. Such an inquiry ordered by you is an unknown law," said Justice Sen.

Reference By:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Khap panchayats of Haryana demand legal ban on Same-Gotra and Same Village Marriages

ROHTAK, HARYANA, INDIA: The khap panchayats of Haryana on Sunday demanded a legal ban on same-gotra and same-village marriages, saying such a measure could solve the problem of rising crime against women.

Leaders of 30 khap panchayats who met in Rohtak passed a resolution calling for an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act to bring the ban on such marriages into effect.

The leaders vowed to take up this demand at the highest level and said they would visit Delhi next month for submitting their representations to the President, Prime Minister and the Union law minister.

The meeting, held at the Chhotu Ram Dharamshala, was hosted by Rohtak's Chorasi khap and presided over by its leader, Mr. Hardeep Ahlawat.

Terming modern culture as "obscene", the leaders said the state's social fabric had been vitiated because people were "blindly following so-called modernization which is the root cause of crime against women and incidents of rape".

"The minds of the younger generation have been corrupted due to invasion of obscene and vulgar culture. Our youngsters have forgotten the rich values and customs of our society," said Mr. Baljit Malik of Gathwala khap in Haryana.

Addressing the meeting, Hardeep Ahlawat demanded a change in the law to ban matrimonial ties between couples from same gotras and same villages — traditionally viewed as brothers and sisters.

"A legal ban on such marriages would also help curb the menace of honour killings and female feticide which has brought a bad name to Haryanvi society," said Om Prakash Dhankar, a khap leader.

Other leaders argued that there would not be any honour killings or female foeticide if same-gotra marriages were banned. "People kill their daughters out of the fear that one day they might elope with men of the same gotra," said Dhankar.

"A delegation of khap panchayat would visit Delhi on November 5 with copies of our memorandum to be handed over to India's top leaders. We would also call on the national commission for women the same day and asked it to raise the demand," he added.

The khap leaders distanced themselves from a recent statement of a khap mahapanchayat spokesman who had sought lowering of the marriageable age of girls from 18 to 16 years to avoid rapes. The leaders said such statements had been spoiling the image of khap panchayats.

"We strongly differ with such people. We have decided to launch social awareness campaign against extravagant marriages, dowry etc in society," he said.

The khap panchayats have also urged the Haryana government to ban wedding ceremonies at night which they said lead to road accidents. Khap leaders said most people get drunk while attending marriages at night and then drive, resulting in road accidents.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Khap Panchayats decisions should benefit society: Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

Khap Panchayats decisions should benefit society: Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said that Khap Panchayats should take such stands that have positive impact and benefit the entire society. 

"Khaps should take decisions that do good to the society and have positive impact on it. I think all the decisions taken by the Khap Panchayat should be in favour of the people, for the welfare of society so that people can learn something from that", Yadav told reporters. 

"If anything is in the larger interest of people and society, there is nothing wrong", he told reporters in Dholpur of Rajasthan after attending the golden jubilee function of Rastriya Military School of which he is an alumnus. Asked if the recent Khap diktat in his state would do anything good to society, he said, "that I don't know. It is for the media to debate and discuss". A Khap Panchayat in Asara Village of District Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh recently issued a diktat banning love marriages and barred women under the age of 40 from going out for shopping and using mobile phones outside their homes. In the function, he said that alumnus of the school are in the service of the nation in different capacities. Army officials were also present at the function where students presented cultural programmes.

Reference By:

All India Jat Arakshan Samiti (AIJAS): Panchayat's instructions advisory, not Talibani diktat

All India Jat Arakshan Samiti (AIJAS): Khap Panchayat's instructions advisory, not Talibani diktat

LUCKNOW, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA: After Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), the All India Jat Arakshan Samiti (AIJAS) has also supported the diktat of the panchayat at the Asara village of District Bagpat. The diktat puts restrictions on the movement of girls and women. A meeting was held in the village and it was decided that a Mahapanchayat will be held on July 21 in which Khap Panchayats from other parts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana will also be invited. 

"We endorse the decision taken by Panchayat in Asara village and will ask all the panchayats in Uttar Pradesh and adjoining states to follow it," Mr. Yashpal Malik, President of AIJAS, told TOI. He slammed the central government and union home minister P Chidambaram for calling khap Panchayat and their decisions undemocratic. He said that a section of media is painting khap Panchayats in bad light. "We are also opposing to dowry system and female feticide but it is not being highlighted. Instead the decisions we take for orderliness in the society in accordance with our traditions are dubbed as `talibani'," he said. 

"We have no objection in Mr. Chidambaram wearing a south India dress and following traditions of the community he belongs. Similarly, he should have no objection if people of other communities want to follow their own tradition and personal code. The decision taken by the Panchayat in Asra Village was an `advisory' and not a `diktat'," said Yashpal Malik. "The advisory also included restriction on boys from taking photograph of girls on mobile phone to check its misuse. Similarly, it restricted both men and women from using ear phones while walking or driving because it can lead to accident. Girls were asked not to visit a mela following complaints of eve-teasing. Boy found involved in eve-teasing were punished," Malik added. 

Further, Malik said "Girls and women were asked to cover head as per the tradition. Restriction of love marriage has been after boys and girls of 15-16 years age eloped. This is the age for education and not marriage. It was clearly stated in the instructions that those who don't want to follow can go elsewhere, hence Panchayat did not impose anything on people. In India, one finds variety of customs and traditions. In south, a girl can be married to maternal uncle but here a boy and girl of a village are considered to be siblings because for us entire village is a family." Pointing out towards the proposed law of the central government on banning Khap Panchayats, he warned that such a move will force JATS to launch a massive agitation. 

All India Jat Arakshan Samiti (AIJAS) is an umbrella body of various Jat associations which was formed to push the demand of granting Jats status of other backward class and subsequent benefit of reservation in central government services and educational institutions. The AIJAS had last year in March blocked rail routes in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab for 20 days throwing normal life out gear. 

On Wednesday, The Panchayat in Asara village in District Baghpat's Ramala area had issued instructions restricting movement of women and girls. The instructions included covering of head by women whenever they leave home, a complete ban on love marriages and those doing so would not be allowed to live in the village, no mobile phones for girls and only women above 40 years of age were allowed to venture out of house for work among other things. 

Local residents claimed the Panchayat had issued the directives after a consensus was reached on them by members several communities living in the village. On Friday, a police team was attacked when it went there to question village head in connection with the diktat. In Lucknow, Urban development and Minority affair minister Mr.
Azam Khan also issued a statement saying that he does not find anything wrong in a `group of villagers expressing their opinion'. Khan's statement is being seen as `appeasement' of Muslims and hardliners in west UP from where Azam comes. BKU president and chief of Baliyan khap panchayat Mr. Naresh Tikait had also supported the diktat of Asara Village Panchayat. 

THE JAT is a highly patriarchal ethnic group having presence in Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of north India. Their population is believed to be around 8.25 crore across nine states in India. In UP, their population is around 2.75 crore. In terms of percentage, JATS are only 6-7% of the total population of Uttar Pradesh, but they constitute 17% of the populace in the Western Uttar Pradesh and can affect elections in 55 assembly constituencies and 10 
lok Sabha constituencies. In Mathura Jats are 40% of the population and around 30% in Baghpat. Known for their Khap Panchayat diktats, JATS in Uttar Pradesh basically an agrarian community.

Reference By: