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Security cover to family in caste row

Bhiwani (Haryana), March 3 (IANS) A security cover has been provided to the family of a boy, who eloped with a girl of the same gotra (sub-caste), as tension prevailed in Samaspur village of this district after an unbending khap panchayat (clan council) directed the family to leave the village by Wednesday evening.

Randhir Singh Megha’s son Sribhagwan Megha had married Anita Phougat, who is from the same gotra.

Randhir Wednesday attended a panchayat meeting held in Bhiwani, around 250 km from state capital Chandigarh, and expressed ignorance about the whereabouts of the couple. He said he was not in touch with the couple and did not know where they were living.

The panchayat ordered him to leave the village by the evening.

‘If he does not leave the village with his entire family, we would forcibly throw them out and his whole property would be taken under the possession of the panchayat,’ a panchayat member said.

Om Singh Balhara, deputy superintendent of police, Dadri, said: ‘A team of five cops led by a senior police official have been deputed at the house of Randhir Singh for their security. In the wake of this ultimatum served by the panchayat to his family for leaving the village, we cannot take any chance.’

He added: ‘We are keeping a close tab on the situation and we would not allow anybody to take law into their hands.’

The Panchayat Feb 27 had given an ultimatum to Randhir to leave the village by Tuesday but they extended the deadline till Wednesday. It also gave an option to Randhir to avoid the punishment by annulling Sribhagwan’s marriage through court proceedings and by producing the couple before the panchayat Wednesday.

The khap panchayat comprises representatives of five villages: Samaspur, Kamod, Rawaldhi, Khatiwas and Makdani.

Sribhagwan, a resident of Samaspur village, had eloped with Anita, who lived in nearby Makrani village, Feb 21 against the wishes of his family members. The couple was having an affair for the last three years.

Shribhagwan, who works in the Rajasthan Police, married Anita and the couple is living in a Rajasthan town.

Haryana’s khap panchayats are notorious for issuing diktats against marriages where the couple makes its own choice.

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