Khap panchayat directs couple to annul marriage in court

Bhiwani, March 2 (IANS) An unbending khap panchayat (clan council) in Samaspur village in this Haryana district directed the groom’s father to get the marriage of his son annulled through court proceedings.

On Feb 27 the panchayat gave Randhir Singh Megha an ultimatum to leave the village by Tuesday as his son Sribhagwan Megha had married Anita Phougat, who was from the same ‘gotra’ (clan).

However, Randhir did not leave the village Tuesday and panchayat had to call another meeting to decide the further course of action.

In its over four-hour long meeting here Tuesday, which was also attended by representatives of other nearby four villages — Loharwada, Kamaud, Khatiwas and Rawaldi, Samaspur khap panchayat directed Randhir to annul his son’s marriage through court proceedings and to present the couple before the khap Wednesday.

‘Taking a lenient stand, we have extended this deadline to tomorrow (Wednesday). However, if Randhir fails to produce the guilty couple in tomorrow’s meeting, then we will forcibly throw his family out of the village and then panchayat will look after his entire property in this village,’ said Ved Kumar, who headed Tuesday’s meeting.

He added: ‘No man from our village (Samaspur) can marry a girl from Phougat as people of Phougat gotra have a ‘bhaichara’ (brotherly relation) with villagers of Samaspur. This marriage is illegal and we would not tolerate it at any cost and they have to annul it through court.’

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

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

However, his father Randhir expressed ignorance about the whereabouts of the couple.

‘I do not know where are they are staying at the moment. They are not in touch with us. We were also against this marriage and I am ready to comply with panchayat’s orders,’ stated Randhir.

Earlier, Randhir had also approached police and the district administration for help, alleging that some khap panchayat members want to grab his property.

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

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