M A I N   N E W S

Khap panchayats canít interfere after betrothal
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Meham, December 19
A sarv khap mahapanchayat organised at the historic Chaubisi Chabutra here today decided that no khap panchayat would have any right to interfere in a marriage after the betrothal ceremony.

The mahapanchayat (a gathering of several khap panchayats) was organised to find a solution to the controversies created by khap panchayats refusing to accept marriages because of gotra controversies and inflicting punishments on families and couples concerned.

It decided that any objections to a marriage would only be entertained before the marriage. Anyone who had objections could raise these before the marriage and not after that since it created legal and social hassles.

However, the mahapanchayat maintained its conservative posture and refused to accord social sanction to love marriages. It, nevertheless, announced its resolve to launch a campaign against female foeticide, dowry and liquor consumption.

The meeting was attended by 89 representatives of different areas from the Deshwali Jat belt, comprising areas falling in Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Jind and parts of Bhiwani and Hisar districts. No representative of the Bagri Jat belt comprising Hisar, Sirsa, Fatehebad and parts of Bhiwani district was present since this problem was non-existent there.

It was presided over by Mr Surat Singh, identified as a supporter of a particular political party. He was authorised by the gathering to act as convener and also draft a constitution for the mahapanchayat.

After a marathon five-hour meeting, it was decided that all marriages outside the gotra of the bride, mother and grandmother would be acceptable socially. It was also decided that no marriages could take place between families living in villages sharing a boundary.

The meeting discussed the recent controversies involving Sonia and Rampal of Asanda village and Aashish and Darshana of Janudhi village. Most of those present did not favour giving social recognition to the marriage of the latter couple. It, however, decided to wait for the verdict of the Chhara Naugama where the matter was pending.

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