ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Khaps, Castes and Violence

Decrees by khap panchayats and violence against dalits paint a gruesome picture of rural Haryana.

Because of the widespread prevalence of patriarchy and casteism, and the low social status of women in Haryana, rural society in the state is widely perceived as one of the most regressive in India. A number of incidents in the past month have reinforced this image.

On 29 March, a sessions court in Karnal, Haryana, imposed a death sentence on five people for their role in the murder in June 2007 of a young couple, Manoj and Babli, of Kaithal district. While a death sentence should have no place in today’s world, the crime was a truly extreme one. Despite the Haryana High Court ordering police protection for the couple, Manoj and Babli were murdered, possibly on 15 June 2007, and their bodies disposed of. Manoj and Babli’s “crime” was that they had got married in spite of the fact that they were from the same gotra (clan) and from the same village, for which they were ordered to be killed by the khap or caste panchayat. Such so-called “honour killings” continue to be carried out in Haryana with sanction/ decrees from the khap panchayats.

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