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National News

Haryana leaders' deathly silence on honour killings

Thursday - Oct 03, 2013, 01:47pm (GMT+5.5)
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Chandigarh - Honour killings, illegal diktats of khaps (community courts) and rapes may not be uncommon in Haryana but all these crimes have one thing in common - the deathly silence of politicians across the spectrum on these burning issues.

When a young couple having an affair, who had dared to elope last month, were brutally done to death by the family of the girl in Haryana's Rohtak district, not one senior leader raised his voice to condemn the incident or to demand harsh punishment for those responsible.

This was not a one-off incident.

Honour killings, especially of young girls and boys marrying against the wishes and diktats of their families, caste or community or even the village, keep happening in Haryana. While the police completes the formality of arresting the people involved, the cases are treated just like any other murder case.

Be it the ruling Congress, opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) - the four leading parties in Haryana - no one dares to speak out against honour killings. Neither are there any shutdown calls, which these parties never miss an opportunity to give.

Even when the state's notorious khaps deliver diktats annulling the marriages of young couples who dare to go against the convention of not marrying within the same community or village, no political leader says a word, let alone criticize the action of khaps. In fact, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in the past, has justified the role of the khaps, saying they have been around for centuries.

It is another matter that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has come down heavily against the actions of the khaps and honour killings. The court has even given directions that couples who are hounded by the khaps and their families be given protection by the police and the administration. Though protection homes have been set up in the last one year, many couples still fear for their lives.

With the khaps being from the Jat-community, Haryana's dominant political and land-owning class, to whom most of the top leaders of all parties belong, these worthies conveniently chose to remain silent on the illegal actions of the kangaroo courts.

The khaps not only order couples to annul their marriages but also order them to live as brother and sister. In other cases, the khaps announce that families of such couples be socially boycotted by the village or the community. In certain cases, the families are even ordered to leave the village.

With the political masters saying or doing nothing against honour killing and the khaps, the police also does not go against such people as vigorously as it should.

The compulsion for Haryana's leaders is that there are numerous khaps across the state and have considerable influence within their respective communities. For the vote-bank politics of these leaders, it suits them to keep silent on illegal matters of khaps and families indulging in honour killings - even if it is at the cost of someone's life.

By Jaideep Sarin


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