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Haryana khap panchayat targets boy’s family in caste row

Bhiwani (Haryana), Feb 28 (IANS) Haryana’s unbending khap panchayats (caste councils) have done it again. This time a panchayat in Samaspur in Bhiwani district has targetted the family of a boy who eloped with a girl of the same gotra (sub-caste) and told them to leave the village.

The khap panchayat has given an ultimatum to the family to leave the village by March 2.

Sribhagwan Megha, a resident of Samaspur village, had eloped with Anita Phougat, who lived in nearby Makrani village, on Feb 21 against the wishes of his family members.

The khap panchayat has declared the marriage ‘illegal’.

‘No man from Samaspur village can marry a girl from Phougat as people of Phougat gotra have a ‘bhaichara’ (brotherly relation) with villagers of Samaspur. Therefore, this marriage is illegal and against our age-old customs,’ said a senior member of the Samaspur khap panchayat here Sunday.

‘We have directed Randhir Singh Megha, the father of Shribhagwan, to leave the village by March 2. His whole family is guilty of violating the social norms of ‘bhaichara’ and if they do not comply with the directive then we would forcibly throw them out,’ he added.

Shribhagwan, who is with the Rajasthan police, married Anita and the couple is living in a Rajasthan town.

However, his father maintained that his family was against the marriage and that they had already disowned Sribhagwan. But the khap panchayat has refused to budge from its stand and has socially boycotted Randhir’s family.

The khap has given orders that the house and land of Randhir would be taken over by the panchayat.

In the meanwhile, Randhir has approached police and the district administration for help alleging that some khap members want to grab his property.

The administration has assured full help to Randhir’s family.

‘We have got a complaint in this regard. We are looking into it,’ said Vikas Gupta, deputy commissioner, Bhiwani, here Sunday.

Haryana panchayats are notorious for issuing controversial decisions related to inter-caste marriages.

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