People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 06

February 07, 2010

 

AIDWA Condemns Haryana Khap Panchayat Decree

 

The All India Democratic Women’s Association has issued the following statement on February 1

 

AIDWA condemns the outrageous and illegal ‘diktat’ reportedly issued by a village panchayat near Rohtak in Haryana that seeks to forcibly separate a married couple, Satish Berwal and Kavita who were married 3 years ago and have a 10 month old baby.  The khap panchayat has informed them that they should henceforth live as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’!  The couple has requested Satish’s village panchayat to overturn this inhuman and patently illegal ‘diktat’.  Satish has also said that both their families have been facing many difficulties since their marriage. Kavita, according to newspaper reports, has threatened to commit suicide with her child on the village panchayat chaupal if the decision is not revoked.  AIDWA respects the courage of the young couple and also of their families who have refused to be cowed down by the khap panchayat.

The sickening frequency with which young couples are being targeted, harassed, attacked and even killed while their families are subjected to social boycott, exile from their homes and worse, is not only intolerable but has to be stopped by the state government that is responsible for safeguarding the constitutional rights of all its citizens. AIDWA demands that the Haryana government intervene to protect the rights of the young couple and their families and also to punish those who are violating these with impunity. Further, criminal cases should be registered against the panchayat members who are intimidating the couple and their families, and issuing threats to their life and property, under appropriate sections of the IPC. AIDWA once again re-iterates the need for a special law to deal not only with ‘honour’ killings, but also with ‘honour’ crimes which have many aspects that are not covered by existing laws.