What Khaps need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

Bad times for Khaps. The girls are beginning to seek legal-protection and report sexual assaults instead of dying honourably.

All along the Khaps have had it in their power to deny little girls nutrition, education, freedom, inheritance, safety from sexual assaults and domestic violence, life and happiness. And now they are losing that power. That’s the real issue.

Please consider,

1. Less than one percent of Choice Marriages in Haryana (where couples have sought legal protection) are within the same-gotra. [link]

Less than one percent.

2. When families want a same-gotra marriage, they allow one of the same-gotra-partners to be ‘adopted’ by a different-gotra relative. Gotra is changed, marriage is performed.

3. It seems nobody calls same gotra marriages a Western influence or incest or immoral (etc) unless the couple chose each other.

So it seems the Khaps more concerned about women choosing their own partners (where they might choose equality, love and respect instead of caste; and are very likely to dare to ask for their share in property).

So how do the Khaps preserve their unlimited powers over the lives of Haryana’s little girls? Claim they are objecting to something that might find support from atleast some Indians.

Now the Khaps want the Hindu Marriage Act amended to ban same-gotra-marriages.

“People kill their daughters out of the fear that one day they might elope with men of the same gotra,”

“The minds of the younger generation have been corrupted due to invasion of obscene and vulgar culture. Our youngsters have forgotten the rich values and customs of our society,” said Baljit Malik of Gathwala khap.
Addressing the meeting, Hardeep Ahlawat demanded a change in the law to ban matrimonial ties between couples from same gotras and same villages — traditionally viewed as brothers and sisters.
“A legal ban on such marriages would also help curb the menace of honour killings and female feticide which has brought a bad name to Haryanvi society,” said Om Prakash Dhankar, a khap leader.

Other leaders argued that there would not be any honour killings or female foeticide if same-gotra marriages were banned. “People kill their daughters out of the fear that one day they might elope with men of the same gotra,” said Dhankar.

Do we have a law against Semi-Forced and Forced Marriages? Isn’t that what the Khaps should be given when they ask for ban on same gotra marriages? (Because they really need to be told that they don’t get to decide who two consenting adults marry or live with).

And not a word from Khaps about banning of buying of one wife (from other states or countries),  for two, three or more brothers in a family?

Related Posts:

Haryana panchayat cuts off married girls from parents’ property

Four kinds of marriages in modern India. Which ones would you ban?

Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC

Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

This is what Haryana Khaps are not saying.

28 thoughts on “What Khaps need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

  1. Let me understand this. They want their illness applied to all the Hindus? Amending the Hindu marriage act will amend the law for everyone. Or they want to add a caveat for Haryana? That can set a dangerous precedent. Soon we will have caveats for all the other states.
    Yes, Khaps are losing the battle. They are scared that their importance is diminishing. Too many fingers are being raised on their credibility (?!?). Too many people are making fun of them. That happens when you find fault in everything other than the rapists.


    • Khap Panchayats themselves are a disease. They are a deleterious, toxic, cancerous, eminently dangerous growth in the rambling maze that is modern India. They are a manifestation of the intense male chauvinism, the nauseating rot, that hides behind the euphemisms of ‘Indian culture’ and ‘traditional values’. For all their pretense at promoting social harmony, they are the agents of strife, murder and arrogant disregard for the lives and rights of those who oppose their autocratic diktats. They stand for all that is regressive, all that is oppressive, in the patented unholy trinity of culture, religion and politics that exists in India.

      The day the last Khap Panchayat is eliminated will be the day we can pat ourselves on the back for a job very well done.


    • I am not sure I am quiet with you on the khaps losing the battle.. in truth its the other way round .. the khaps have actually gone stronger .. One needs to visit a village to know the truth ..

      there is more than meets the eye.. Yes too many people are pointing fingers and what not .. But no one dares to take them on tooo .. This might actually come as a surprise the youth iin majority is with the Khaps in places .. so it should be worrying for us ..


  2. Well, legally speaking, India doesn’t have a specific law against forced marriages. However, the consent of both partners is necessary for a marriage to be legal under any of the Marriage Acts in India. The granting of consent can be challenged, and coerced or falsified consent on behalf of another adult can attract significant jail time. Therefore some implicit protection built into the law.

    The thing is, a law against forced marriage would face the same problems as the built in protection does. There are reasons why it does not work in practice:

    For one, rural awareness is very low, specially among women (who need this protection the most). Very few people are actually aware of the rights the law grants them and even if they are, they don’t know how to exercise them in practice.

    Second, even if the protagonists are aware of their rights and appropriate procedures, they do not have the resources to utilize State infrastructure which would allow them to obtain a judicial remedy. The issue isn’t really a lack of finances but a lack of freedom. Approaching a sympathetic member of the local administration (such as a police officer or a BDO) without risk of physical harm from their in-laws/families is a nontrivial matter for many affected women, because their movements tend to be closely monitored.

    Once those hurdles are crossed, there is the question of facing social sanction. A Haryana village is not a pleasant place for a woman who has defied social norms, resisted a pre-arranged marriage and possibly put her own family behind bars. This is the biggest stumbling block by far. The first two factors are not so hard to change; changing the third one will require truly Herculean effort.

    As far as the toxic statements made by the Khaps are concerned, they do not make sense at any level. Honor killings and feticides are different phenomena, and neither of them are restricted to Haryana, with its incredibly complex caste system. Claiming that a fear of same-gotra marriages is why little girls are killed at birth is just ridiculous to me.

    And if they’re so keen on clearing the name of Haryanvi culture, perhaps they’d lend their support to the demand for special laws and procedures against Honor Killings themselves. There are substantial procedural hurdles in mounting a legal prosecution against perpetrators of such killings under the ordinary laws against homicide. Why go the indirect route? If people can defy murder laws, surely, youngsters can defy laws against same-gotra marriage, even if such laws, which are against the very spirit of our constitution and modern ethics, were to be enacted? It does seem as though this ‘suggestion’ is provided not out of a genuine desire to reduce the menace of honor killings, but rather out of a desire to use that menace as an excuse to push one’s own agenda.


  3. Just want to share something. Gotra marriage was not done earlier as it was thought bad. And it has a scientific reason to it. Human Gotra is like strains for animal kingdom. Same strain marriage can bring the recessive bad genes to an active or dominant form. And this can be noticed when two first cousins are married sometimes they have a kid with some kind of genetic disorder. But Gotra in this era can’t be compared to strain. As daughters Gotra get changed when she is married . if you really go through the chromosomal genetics the kid born to them does not really belong to any particular Gotra as it has characteristics of its mother and father. According to genetics marriage between two same strain sometime activates the bad gene but not always. And this happens only for first cousins and degree of this decreases in each generation. So instead of banning a thing without knowing the reason and making a huge issue of it is a very easy task for khap. But if they are so much interested to secure mankind instead of making these ban they should give importance to gene screening and matching not this Gotra matching.


    • Less than 1% of choice-marriages are same gotra marriages, and there are some same gotra marriages that are accepted by the communities (when one partner is adopted by a relative from another gotra), so all this talk of same gotra mariages is meant to garner support.
      They don’t allow inter caste marriages, but not sure how particular they are when they buy brides from other regions.


      • They don’t allow inter caste marriages

        Surely, very strange behavior for people who claim to be so deeply interested in promoting genetic variation in their community.


    • This is exactly what I was thinking. There may be a case for discouraging in-breeding (due to greater chance of disability etc.) but this gotra business doesn’t make sense if, as according to these khaps, genes/gotras are only transferred from the male side *eye roll*. But maybe I am expecting too much when I think khaps can understand basic genetics.


  4. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/khap-power-must-be-curbed-rajasthan-shrc/1023320?
    //Appalled at the comments and diktats of the khap panchayats, Rajasthan’s State Human Rights Commission is mulling over sending a list of recommendations to the state government that could be implemented as a law to curb the powers of the Khaps.

    The Commission has been flooded with complaints against khap panchayats, particularly from western Rajasthan and Bharatpur, but in most cases has found itself helpless for want of strict legal provisions.
    Over the last year, the Commission has seen a sharp increase in the number of such cases. Instances of couples being disrobed in public, murders and violence instigated by the khaps have come to light across Rajasthan.

    “The khaps have no regard for law…//


  5. Someone please explain to the illiterates in the Khap that ALL humans are descended from one woman – mitochondrial Eve. Then they’ll want to ban all marriages as incestuous, I’m sure. *rolls eyes*


  6. What we need the most in not just Haryana, but India as a whole is implementation of laws in general. Praveen above has a good argument; while we laws that are de-jure against forced marriages and honour killings, they are not implemented because of a weak, ignorant, corrupt and defective law enforcement system AND a general unawareness/unwilingness/difficulty in obtaining legal redressal.
    If you are interested in a field test, try conversing with policemen in Haryana, Delhi or UP about the legality of pre-marital sex, forced marriages and the like. You’d be surprised.
    We don’t need more laws; we need a better, more professional and more educated law enforcement; backed by a strong executive and judiciary that stand on its own, without being pawns of political demagogues.
    And by the way, why do you think Khaps behave like that?


    • What I have heard of the delhi police’s comments on these issues was scary and outrageous (on a tv sting operation). I never had much confidence in them but was positively horrified at their comments and hope I never have to rely on them!

      That’s kind of the opposite of how you should feel about the police force.. they should inspire confidence.. and ours is so far from that.


  7. I don’t know much about gotras, but from what I read here, if your ‘gotra’ can change when you get married or adopted, no argument about genetics can ever apply. Your genes don’t change when you get married or adopted. Plus, laws do account for some degrees of consanguinity, where the risk to possible offspring is high. But I’m sure logic and reasoning are lost on most of these Khap members. They just want to retain their power and control, as IHM pointed out.


  8. Great comments by everyone here, provAs most things I read about khaps, I found this statement totally bizarre:

    “People kill their daughters out of the fear that one day they might elope with men of the same gotra,”

    By that logic, people should kill their sons too. They are just as likely to elope with women of the same gotra, right? Seeing as these elopements involve one man and one woman? Obviously this is totally stupid, illogical and inconsistent.

    They just want to further their own agenda under the guise of preventing rapes or female infanticide. Interestingly this khap said that they don’t agree with the one that wants to lower girls’ marriageable age to 16 and that people should just listen to their demands (not the other khap). They can’t even convince each other!


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