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NHRC notice to Haryana over caste panchayats

J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The National Human Right Commission has issued a notice to the Haryana Chief Secretary to send a factual report, within four weeks, on media reports that khap (caste) panchayats in the State have been harassing young couples and violating their human rights.

The Commission, which took suo motu cognisance of the incidents, referred to a khap panchayat’s direction against Ved Pal Mor of Matour village in Kaithal district of Haryana who married a girl of his own sub-caste after eloping with her. The panchayat disapproved of Pal’s marriage with the girl who hailed from Singhwal village in Jind district.

When Pal, after obtaining a court order, accompanied by police, reached for custody of his wife in Singhwal on July 22, he was lynched by villagers in the presence of the police.

Diktat

In another incident, the Kadyan Barha k hap panchayat asked Ravinder Gehlout of Dharan village in Jind district to divorce Shilpa Kadyan as their marriage was in violation of social norms. When the bride’s parents rejected this verdict, the panchayat issued a diktat to the family to leave the village within 72 hours.

Later Ravinder attempted suicide and is now undergoing treatment.

The victims were living under the threat of the khap panchayat and the district administration was not able to provide appropriate protection to them.

The Commission observed that the contents of media reports, if true, raised serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim.

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