Clan panchayats swear by honour killing

Caste honour above law, says defiant group

Clan panchayats swear by honour killing

A maha panchayat of about two dozen caste panchayats held at Kurukshetra in Haryana on Tuesday remained defiant about the diktats of khaps in Haryana and pledged support to the five convicted of murdering a young couple — Manoj and Babli  — in the name of family honour. Nearly 10,000 people had assembled at the congregation.

The maha panchayat of khaps from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan had been convened in the wake of the recent court verdict that convicted the perpetrators of honour killings in Haryana for the first time. The maha panchayat resolved to raise Rs 10 per panchayat member to help the families of those convicted and to fight a legal battle to challenge their conviction.

Manoj and Babli were done to death for marrying within the same gotra (sub-caste) in 2007 following a diktat from the khap. Five members of Babli’s close family were awarded death sentence while a khap representative was sentenced to life by a court at Karnal recently.

“We will continue to protest against marriages within the same clan and the same village,” said a khap member who participated in the maha panchayat. Seeking an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, the maha panchayat resolved that marriage of boys and girls from the same gotra or belonging to the same village should be banned. The panchayat resolved to submit a memorandum of their demands to the president, prime minister and the Haryana chief minister.

The maha panchayat also urged the Haryana government to accord recognition to the khaps and their decisions. Later, a section of the panchayat members blocked the national highway between Delhi and Ambala to protest the court verdict against honour killings. At least one of the prominent political parties in Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which is also the main opposition in the state Assembly, has come out publicly in support of the decisions of the maha panchayat.

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