M A I N   N E W S

Khaps term female foeticide as murder
Want drive against menace, guilty punished
Bijendra Ahlawat/TNS

Bibipur (Jind), July 14
A mahapanchayat of leaders and representatives of over 100 khaps from Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh took a tough stand against female foeticide on Saturday and demanded registration of a murder case against those who indulge in the "heinous act".

The mahapanchayat, a conglomeration of various caste councils, was convened for the first time to discuss and debate rampant female foeticide in Haryana’s Bibipur village, 10km from Jind on the Bhiwani road. It was pointed out that the population of girls had decreased due to the rampant practice and effective steps should be taken to wipe out the social ill. There are around 877 females per 1,000 males in the state.

“The perpetrators (of female foeticide) should be booked under Section 302 of the IPC instead of the simple imprisonment of five years and fine awarded to the guilty of such a crime,” said the resolution passed at the mahapanchayat.

The mahapanchayat, which for the first time saw a large number of women participants, also decided to launch an awareness campaign against the social evil by holding regular panchayat meetings. An 11-member committee would be formed to oversee the campaign.

“The committee will be headed by Ram Karan Solanki, chief of the Palam-360 Khap. It will meet again to ensure that the campaign against foeticide continued till positive results were achieved,” said Sunil Jaglan, Sarpanch of Bibipur village, and organiser of the mahapanchayat. It was chaired by Kuldeep Ram Rai, head of the Naugama Panchayat.

While speakers condemned the practice of female foeticide, they stressed the need for creating social awareness

against female foeticide and educating the masses on problems that could crop up if the rampant practice continued. Khaps blamed the media for presenting them in poor light and claimed they had only been working for the social benefit of various communities.

Santosh Dahiya, head of the woman wing of the Sarvakhap Mahapanchayat, said both men and women were responsible for foeticide and the state’s skewed sex ratio and only their will and attitude could bring about a change.

Kuldeep Singh Dhanda, pradhan of Barah Kalan Khap, said they were worried about the declining sex ratio in the state. Change is possible only with the involvement of all sections of society, he said.

However, voices of dissent were also heard during the function. While a large number of women attended the panchayat, only a handful was allowed to speak after the resolution. They termed the resolution a futile exercise.

Some participants objected to the manner in which the resolution was adopted. “The organisers ought to have held a thorough debate and discussion on the matter before adopting the resolution,” said Umed Singh Deswal, head of the Dulehra Barah Khap of Jhajjar. He said organisers exhibited immaturity in the manner in which the event was organised.

Khaps that participated in the meeting included Malik, Binain, Dalal, Sheoran, Hooda, Barah Kalan, Dahiya, Bhanwala, Gathwala, Kandela, Sangwan, Solanki, Maan, Dhanda, Deswal and Tanwar, besides representatives of Dalit bodies. With women of the village leading the campaign, the Gram Sabha of Bibipur village had invited leaders of over 300 khaps to seek their support for the campaign.

(With agency inputs)





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