'Girls can't be given freedom to choose their partners'

Photo for representation.

Virtually defending the killings of the girls for the sake of family honour, a powerful 'khap panchayat' (caste panchayat) denounced love marriages and has made it clear that the girls can not be given the freedom to choose their partners.

It also said that the community would not ''accept'' inter-caste or inter-religious marriages under any circumstances and expected the girls to ''respect'' their elders and established social traditions.

''We spend lakhs on the education of the girls....how can we allow them to choose their partners...the family should decide where the girl should be married,'' said 'khap' leader Naresh Tikait said at a meeting of the members of the 'Jat' community at Baghpat, about 450 kilometres from here, on Thursday.

He said that the families experienced social humiliation and stigma when their girls married in different caste or religion. ''Love marriage is wrong...we will never allow it,'' Tikait added.

A large number of 'Jat' leaders from the powerful and influential 'Baliyan khap' hailing from different parts of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan attended the meeting, according to the reports.

Speaker after speaker at the meeting denounced, what they termed the ''new social order'', that ''diminished'' the role of the parents in the lives of the younger generation.

''We need to educate the youngsters about our age-old traditions and culture,'' said another 'khap' leader.

The 'khap panchayats' were very powerful, especially in the 'Jat' dominated western UP region. They often convene 'mahapanchayts' to discuss and deliberate on social and other issues facing the community and the decisions taken there are binding on every member of the community.

The reiteration comes in the wake of killings of the lovers by their families for the sake of honour. The lovers also have to face social boycott. 

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