M A I N   N E W S

Police allows khaps to run riot
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Beri (Jhajjar), August 9
Pandemonium and violence marked the “sarva khap” meeting here today. The four-hour meeting on the campus of a government school was an unruly affair with “volunteers” beating up speakers who dared to differ with the prevailing view. They also assaulted a photo-journalist and broke his camera while he was taking pictures of the chaotic scenes at the meeting.

There were barely half a dozen policemen to control the situation. It is not clear if the organisers had sought any permission for the meeting, that too in a government school, but the administration seemed hardly prepared to handle the congregation of 2,000-odd people. As a result, one of the policemen present was also assaulted and later lodged a complaint with the DSP. The administration made no arrangement to record the proceedings of the khap and no action was taken against the volunteers till Sunday evening even after the photo-journalist was hospitalised.

One of the speakers, Jagdish Singh, was manhandled and assaulted by the “volunteers” when he dared to speak against the Kadian khap’s decision to disallow the wedding of Ravinder Gehlout with Shilpa Kadian. When he suggested that the marriage should be accepted, pandemonium broke out and he was dragged down from the stage and manhandled.

A small group of people seemed to be in control and the rest were passive onlookers. Nobody protested against the unruly behaviour of the volunteers. Nobody expressed any regret over the sorry spectacle and nobody intervened when the volunteers went on the rampage.

Most of the people sitting on the dais were elder citizens, but 55-year-old Subhash Dahiya was “elected” to preside over the meeting, which came as a surprise to old-timers. Women were, of course, conspicuous by their absence. And although as many as 53 khaps were represented, not more than six were allowed to express their “views”.

It was billed as the mother of all meetings to decide the fate of one Gehlout family in Jhajjar which had allegedly done the unthinkable and accepted the marriage of one of their boys with a girl belonging to a Kadian family from Panipat. Both the boy and the girl , moreover, grew up in Delhi and continue to live there.



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