Shafiq R Khan

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Khap body threatens MPs, Delhi blockade

Jind (Haryana), May 23: News 24  

A Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat (all community council congregation) held in this Haryana town on Sunday threatened to boycott all MPs and assembly members from the state if they did not support the khaps call for a ban on the same-gotra marriages. They also threatened a blockade of Delhi.

At the meeting, which only a few hundred leaders and their supporters attended, various khaps sought support from all quarters for a ban on marriages within the same gotra (ancestral lineage) and demanded an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act.

"If all MPs and MLAs (members of legislative assembly) in Haryana do not support us in this matter, we will start their boycott from next month," a khap leader announced.

Congress MP from Kurukshetra and billionaire industrialist Naveen Jindal landed in a controversy earlier in May after he extended support to the demands of the Khap panchayats.

Farmers` leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, who belongs to western Uttar Pradesh, was also present at the meeting.

The khap leaders also gave an ultimatum to the central government to amend the Hindu Marriage Act by June 19, failing which various khaps in Haryana will block roads to New Delhi and also block supply of water, vegetables and other wares to the national capital.

Khap Panchayats have been in the news for the wrong reasons in the last five years after they started annulling the marriages of young couples saying that they are "brothers and sisters" being from the same gotra. Khap decisions declaring several such marriages void have led to murders of young couples by their families or other community members - a clear case of honour killing.

Many couples and their families have also been socially boycotted and forced to leave their homes and lands.

The demand of khap panchayats comes after a Haryana court gave capital punishment in March to five people for an "honour killing".

A Karnal court sentenced the five people to death and one person to life imprisonment for killing a couple who had married despite belonging to the same gotra.

The murdered couple, Manoj, 23, and Babli, 19, were married in 2007 against the wishes of their families.

They were murdered by members of Babli`s family.

Defiant khap leaders are headed for a confrontation with the state government and the Punjab and Haryana High Court which has given rulings over illegal decisions on marriages announced by various panchayats.

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