Panchayat declares married couple siblings

Panchayat declares married couple siblings

Topsy-turvy order

The world went topsy-turvy for a newly wed couple in Haryana, after a khap announced them brother and sister within two days of their marriage.

The incident, where archaic traditions and autocratic panchayats infringed upon individual choice yet again, occurred at Jolly village in Haryana’s Gohana on Tuesday.

The panchayat, at a meeting attended by the families of the couple, annulled the marriage with immediate effect.

Certain families in the groom’s village had the same surname as that of the bride’s family, which put both families in the same “gotra,” the panchayat ruled.

Since marriages within the same “gotra” are prohibited in many parts of Haryana, the  khap, in its diktat, declared the marriage null and void.  

The gifts which were exchanged during Sunday’s wedding were also returned.  Thereafter, the bride returned to her parents house in Umadgarh village.

Rattan Singh, sarpanch of Jolly, said the decision was unanimously agreed upon in the “best interest of harmony and brotherhood in the village.”

“The marriage has been declared invalid. The two are brother and sister,” he maintained.  Till now, neither the groom nor the bride’s family have sought intervention of the district authorities or police.  A senior district official, however, said the two families will be provided with all help, but at least one of the aggrieved parties have to file a complaint.

At many places in Haryana, age-old traditions are still practiced with a lot of authority, though they are not sanctioned by the law.

The taboo on marriages within the same “gotra” is one such practice.  Such practices enjoy unflinching support of some people, while many support them out of fear of being ostracised in case they oppose such diktats.

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