People's Democracy

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


No. 08

February 21, 2010




Citizens Convention Asks for Isolating Self-Styled Panchayats 


CONTINUING its campaign against the self-styled khap panchayats in Haryana, a broad platform of citizens as well as social and other organisations has issued an appeal to the common people to isolate such forces. These organisations organised a well attended convention at Meham on February 12, in defence of the citizens� rights and severely condemned the highly outrageous act of publicly humiliating the father of a newly married youth.

Janwadi Mahila Samiti, Sarva Karamchari Sangh, AILU, All India Kisan Sabha, DYFI and SFI, among other organisations, also joined the convention and helped in its holding.

The convention came down heavily on some people who, in yet another shameful instance of its kind, have issued a diktat to a newly wed couple to dissolve their marriage and become like brother and sister. This took place recently in Kheri village near Meham in Rohtak district, where the so called panchayat forced an aged person to put a shoe in his mouth. While describing the gotra-based objection as totally baseless, the convention also criticised the district police chief for not arresting the guilty persons despite a complaint from the aggrieved couple.

It is notable that the convention took place at the Chaubisee Chabootra, the venue meant for the congregation of chaubisee khap panchayat. It was the rare occasion also because a number of women participants climbed the podium, which was usually an exclusively male preserve. The choice of the venue and the vocal presence of women there was thus a direct challenge to the forces of reaction.

People from the surrounding villages expressed their total opposition to the unabated illegal acts of openly interfering in the family affairs of innocent persons and delivering with impunity punishments, like what Kangaroo courts do.

The convention decided to launch a mass awareness campaign against such retrograde decisions of these panchayats, and demanded that the government must forthwith ban these panchayats which have so far taken many innocent lives.

Raghubir Singh Hooda and Chandi Ram (president and secretary respectively of the All India Lawyers Union�s state committee), Jagmati Sangwan (state president of the All India Democratic Women�s Association), two former legislators Harpal Singh and Umed Singh, Pradeep Singh Mundhal of the All India Kisan Sabha, Savita, Naresh Kumar, Dr Anant Kaur, Sumer Siwach, Banarasi Bhani Surjan, Jeevan Singh, Sisar Khas, Preet Singh, Nirmal Balhara and Advocate Ramchander Siwach were among those who addressed the convention.

Raghubir Singh Hooda stated that certain vested interests are in a well-planned manner interfering in the private life of other families and individuals.

Jagmati Sangwan described how young boys and girls are being murdered in the name of the so called izzat, though killing of young children has never been the part of the culture and tradition of Haryana. Panchayats should, in its stead, contribute to the progress of the society by coming forward to protect the civil rights of the citizens.

Harpal Singh said in order to protect their vote banks, the major political parties have never taken a position on such issues on the plea that these issues concern a particular community. Stating that Haryana played a glorious role in the freedom struggle of 1857 and later, he said the need of the hour is that we must change ourselves according to the time.

The hundreds of persons participating in the convention passed a resolution demanding that Kavita and Satish must be rehabilitated in their native house in Meham Kheri and that the culprits harassing them must be punished. They also decided that such conventions must be organised at the village level time to time.

AIDWA leader Dr Jagmati Sangwan later stated that all justice loving citizens and elected panchayat representatives must openly join the campaign against the casteist forces who were bent upon bringing bad name to the state of Haryana in the name of tradition and culture. She outright and forcefully rejected the contention that such acts of killing their own young daughters and sons in the name of family honour had ever been the Haryana culture.