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Archives for : Khap Panchayat

Muzaffarnagar: Khap Panchayat bans jeans, mobiles for girls #moralpolicing #WTFnews


Aug 10, 2014 at 12:07pm IST

Muzaffarnagar: In yet another bizzare dikat of the Khap Panchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzafarnagar district, it has banned unmarried girls from wearing jeans and using mobile phones. The panchayat claimed that these have a bad influence and were responsible for girls being harassed.

The panchayat of Gujjar community was held at Jadwad village on Friday. It passed the diktat banning wearing of jeans and use of mobile phones by unmarried girl. The panchayat also claimed that eve-teasing incidents had increased due to “objectionable” clothes worn by girls.

It also asked the community people not to have disc jockey during wedding functions.

One of the residents said, “Wearing jeans is not good as boys get attracted to it and it gives rise to crimes.”

One of the girls, “I am ok with not wearing jeans and not using mobiles. We should keep control on ourselves.”

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi hit out at the Khap saying no one can discriminate against women. He said, “Women are equally free in this country. They can wear what they want just the way men wear what they want. No one can discriminate against women. If someone does, then law should take action against them.”

Khap panchayats had earlier imposed similar bans which drew flak from several sections of the society.

(With additional information from PTI)

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#India – Silence of Government on ‘Honour’ Killing Law is Killing #Vaw

Kamayani Bali Mahabal aka Kractivist honor   Pic courtesy —

The naked brutality of honour crimes against women is in contravention of the spirit of the ’United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)’ which has been duly signed and ratified by India. The prevalence and entrenchment of the caste system and rabid patriarchal ethos in the society at large are the root cause of this social evil. The Supreme Court of India, in its observation in the case of Lata Singh versus State of Uttar Pradesh and others in 2006, termed the caste system as a curse on the nation and acknowledged that inter-caste marriages are in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system. Referring to ’honour’ killings the Apex Court stated: “There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal minded persons who deserve harsh punishment.”

In June 2010 Supreme Court issued a notice to the Central Government and nine State governments to know about the steps taken to curb such violence. The Union Government constituted a group of nine Ministers to look into the possibility of framing a separate law to deal with the menace of ’honour’ killings under former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2010. But it eluded consensus till it was disbanded quietly with the exit of Mukherjee from the cabinet to become president.After criticism from women groups, the Prime Minister revived the group in 2012, But it is being suggested that ’honour’ killing is not the outcome of the gender bias attitude of the Khap Panchayats because in most cases the family members of the girl, including women, are the perpetrators of the crime. But the fact of the matter is that the ideology of the so-called family or clan honour is derived from the gender role assigned by patriarchy. The women who do not follow the socially acceptable behaviour or preserve their chastity have to bear the brunt in the form of violence, coercion and killings to restore the family ’honour’.

And it is an open secret that Khap Panchayats are the functional forums of patriarchy in the State and surrounding areas. There are numerous examples in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh where these medieval institutions have directly or indirectly precipitated situations leading to cold-blooded murders of young women and men defying the age-old established value system.

The debate on enactment of the law is also being trivialised on the ground that ’honour’ killing is, after all, a murder and the perpetrators of this crime can be tried under the existing provisions of the IPC. But it is not a case of simple murder.The resistance was more because of doubts that the objective could be best served by amending Section 300 of IPC to include participation in khap’s calls for “honour killings” as an additional criterion of what constitutes murder.

It is a social evil no less in enormity than sati, dowry deaths and atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is difficult to quantify, but India is counted among the countries (Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran being others) having very high per capita incidents of ’honour’ killings in the world. We have the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (amended in 1983 and 1986); and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to deal with the social evils listed earlier. Then why not a stand-alone law to deal with ’honour’ killing which shames the civil society and silences forever the women and youth who dare to dream differently?

The Khap Panchayats and their supporters have raised dissenting voices against the enactment of a comprehensive law on ’honour’ killings. This is understandable as these extra-constitutional and mob-gathering forums have always considered themselves above the law of the land. The proposed Act for the abatement of ’honour killings’ has to be quite stringent whereby the perpetrators of the crime shall get life imprisonment  and the institutions and individuals aiding and abetting such killings shall also get deterrent punishment.

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#India – Good laws, bad implementation

February 1, 2014

Vasundhara Sirnate

Rights may be self-evident and constitutionally secured; however, they do not automatically implement themselves

In the last two years the highest courts in the country have responded to a mass call for more protection for women. Alongside, there have been many judgments from non-constitutional decision-making bodies like khap panchayats and kangaroo courts sanctioning violence against particular women or curtailing women’s freedom in significant ways. Why is it that while there has been a legal expansion of women’s rights in India, the societal trends that maintain a violent order against women have remained intact?

Recently, a 20-year-old Santhal tribal woman was raped by 12 men in West Bengal on the orders of a kangaroo court called a salishi sabha. Her crime was to have fallen in love with a man outside her community. The couple were tied up and “tried” and asked to pay Rs.25,000 as payment. The man was able to pay but the woman could not. The headman reportedly decreed that she could be “enjoyed” by several men and that they could “have fun” with her.

The tone of this diktat parrots what Nirbhaya’s rapists said — they were out to “have some fun” and a “good time.” She later died after having sustained massive injuries but left behind a mass political movement calling for more rights for Indian women.

Societally sanctioned rape and sexual assault is not new in India. It has been repeatedly established that Indian men assert a claim over the bodies of women because somehow, families believe that in Indian society a woman exists as an appendage to some man in her life — father, brother, son or husband. If a woman steps across an invisible line (lakshman rekha), where her behaviour is seen as outrageous and unacceptable, then many people still believe that she is opening herself up to sexual assault. The most recent such pronouncement came from Ms Asha Mirje, a member of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women who stated: “Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places.” In other words, for many people in society (including many women) such a woman deserves what she gets.

Over the years, violence against women in various forms has reached epic proportions. An estimated 30 to 70 million girls are “missing” in India since 1950, i.e., they don’t make it out of the birth canal. In 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) on gender attitudes showed that 68 per cent of the Indian men surveyed (n=810) agreed that women should tolerate violence to keep their families together, while 65 per cent believed that sometimes a woman deserves to be beaten; 37 per cent of men (n=929) had physically assaulted their intimate partner at least once; 24 per cent had committed an act of sexual violence against someone in society and 20 per cent had committed sexual violence against their partners. The most interesting finding from the TrustLaw study was this one — 92 per cent of those surveyed knew of the laws pertaining to violence against women. What does this figure tell us about what is happening in India to women?

Rights and resentmentThe figure quoted above tells us that legislation alone is not going to stop violence against women from occurring. For every piece of progressive legislation that has upped the ante on women’s rights in India, there is still the struggle against first responders who are often reluctant to register a case of rape or sexual assault. The reporting of rapes is very low in India. Most women do not report assault for a variety of reasons. Last year, India’s National Crime Records Bureau data revealed that in 2012, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by parents/family, relatives, neighbours and other known persons. This leaves us with a total of 453 cases of stranger rape. In essence, men known to the victim committed 98 per cent of reported rapes. This itself is a staggering figure.

A second cause of concern that emerges from the data is that we have to think about why, despite far-reaching legislation, rape and sexual assault is still common. Romit Chowdhury suggests that for Indian men the demonstration of masculinity, which has always problematically rested on harassing women, has now also become linked to breaking the laws that protect women.

Rape and sexual assault are not only occurring in homes, streets and offices, but also take on a unique group dynamic in situations of communal riots where a woman’s body become a site of violence in the battle between caste or religious groups. Sexual violence was a strong component of the rioting in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh; 13 rape and assault cases were reported. It is suspected that some cases have not yet been reported because the women, now in refugee camps, have refused to step forward as they are afraid of losing their honour.

Last year, the landmark Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 expanded the definition of rape to include more than just vaginal penetration. Stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks were brought under the Act as punishable crimes. The age of consent was raised to 18 years, below which all penetrative sexual acts will now constitute statutory rape. A rape shield clause was included, where the character of the victim was rendered irrelevant to establishing her consent. However, marital rape did not find its way into the Act and neither was rape and sexual assault removed from the purview of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Imperfections notwithstanding, these are still very far-reaching changes. However, for every such legislation passed by the Lok Sabha and courts, there has been a gradual stripping away of the rights of women as well. In fact, the gender situation in India needs to be understood through this process of rights expansion and the pushback it gets from society.

Women in rural IndiaOne of the agents of mass pushback against women’s rights is kangaroo courts in India. These clan-based khap panchayats and sabhashave had a long history in India. Khaps are unconstitutional and informal law-giving bodies that have captured much rural terrain in north and eastern India. Why they have re-emerged recently as strong political bodies is still a mystery but one that suggests that they have more than just traditional authority. Khaps in rural India have been asserting much power over the lives of people in rural India, the weakest of whom are women of all communities.

In the last two years alone, khaps have sanctioned several honour killings and have suggested a level of misogyny that is completely at odds with what the leading courts in the country are articulating. For instance, in the State of Haryana, there are several local khaps. Two such jatcaste bodies imposed dress codes on women, and one even said that girls are “agents who pollute society and bring a bad name to the community.” For these bodies, policing women is easy. In rural India, police presence is low and many local notables have links with local law enforcement agents. These notables are also involved in the functioning of khaps. So, they are reasonably confident that their diktats policing women’s behaviour will not be challenged.

What is transpiring in contemporary India is a backlash against an expansion of rights for women that stops women from building capabilities, economic careers and acquiring some independence from male figures in their lives. Second, since khap diktats are singular statements that send messages to all women, they instill fear in young women and families with daughters, successfully silencing any protest that could arise against their rulings. The Indian state has been quite reticent in initiating any action against khaps even though it is apparent that khapdiktats are blatantly undercutting women’s rights and thereby contradicting the verdicts of the highest constitutional law-making bodies.

A mismatchThis process — giving rights with one hand, while the other takes it away — shows that people resent an expansion of rights for women and go to extreme lengths to make sure that the law of the land has no stronghold in their local communities. The Indian state may make many laws that protect women. However, none of this means much unless law enforcement agencies actually implement the law.

This mismatch between the existence of good laws and their actual implementation is itself a commentary on state capacity in India. Many years ago, Francine Frankel and M.S.A. Rao drew our attention to social structures of dominance in India and how they inhibit, negotiate or encourage state power. The Indian state has failed Indian women by allowing khaps to issue diktats that contradict constitutionally sanctioned rights women have. In ignoring the khap question and not taking them head-on as groups that violate human rights, the Indian state seems to be saying that its job is done when it passes good legislation. Rights may be apparent or self-evident and constitutionally secured; however, they do not automatically implement themselves.

(Vasundhara Sirnate is the chief coordinator of research for The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.

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Arvind Kejriwal says no question of banning “Khap Panchayats” as they have cultural purpose #WTFnews #Vaw

Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:48pm IST

Villagers sit after attending a panchayat, or village council meeting, at Balla village in Haryana May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur/Files

Villagers sit after attending a panchayat, or village council meeting, at Balla village in Haryana May 13, 2008.


NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Arvind Kejriwal, the new political star whose call for clean politics has struck a popular chord, has said he would not ban the illegal village courts because they had a “cultural” purpose despite their harsh treatment of women.

Kejriwal, who became chief minister of Delhi after his one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) swept to power last month, will now contest the national elections due by May. His party’s key anti-corruption platform is seen as having considerable appeal among urban voters.

Many urban Indians had hoped the 45-year-old’s progressive social politics would include a strong agenda for women’s empowerment. But his stand on village councils – unelected all-male bodies which have issued many misogynistic decrees, including ordering ‘honour killings’ – contrasts with that of some women’s groups who want them dismantled.

Their diktats have ranged from banning women from wearing western clothes and using mobile phones to ordering the killing of young couples. Some councils have demanded that the minimum age of marriage be lowered to 16 from 18 for girls and 21 for boys as a way of coping with an increase in the number of rapes.

“No, it is not a question of banning these panchayats,” Kejriwal told Thomson Reuters Foundation late on Monday, referring to “Khap Panchayats”, the name given to village councils in rural north India.

“Khap Panchayats are a group of people who come together. There is no bar on people to assemble in this country … (But) whenever they take a wrong decision, whenever they take an illegal decision, they ought to be punished.”

Powerful village councils have governed India’s rural landscape for centuries, keeping a conservative grip on rural society that not only clashes with the current more liberal attitudes towards women, but also challenges the law of the land.

Acting as de-facto courts for millions of Indians, they settle disputes on everything from land and cattle to matrimony and murder, helping maintain social order in a country where access to justice can be slow and difficult for the rural poor and uneducated.

The councils are coming under growing scrutiny because of their brutal forms of punishment, prompting some women’s rights activists to label them the “Taliban of India,” after the Islamic fundamentalist movement active in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Last week, 13 men were arrested after they were alleged to have gang-raped a 20-year-old tribal women on the orders of a village court in West Bengal as punishment for having a relationship with a man from another community.

The case has made waves in India, underscoring how sexual violence has become a serious social and political issue since the rape and murder of a physiotherapist on a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012, an attack that sparked nationwide demonstrations.


While the punitive edicts issued by these courts have been condemned by the Supreme Court, criticised by the media, slammed by feminists and even deemed unlawful by India’s most powerful politician, Sonia Gandhi, the councils continue to act with impunity, unchallenged by police and government.

This is largely due to their influence over millions of rural voters, making political parties reluctant to challenge them for fear of losing support.

Kejriwal – who hails from Haryana, one of the states where such councils are prevalent – has shaken up Indian politics, promoting an image of equality for all and avoiding the displays of power beloved by many Indian VIPs, such as expensive official cars and promising voters cheap water and electricity.

Yet many Indians are still unclear about AAP’s women’s rights policy, which has so far been confined to tackling the rise in reported rapes by holding police more accountable and setting up a Women’s Commando force in the city.

“You can’t have a situation that women are getting raped again and again everywhere and no one is accountable,” said Kejriwal, referring to the recent gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi.

“The fundamental rights written in the constitution are basically the soul of our constitution. It says the right to life with dignity. 1,600 rapes have taken place last year. What happened to the right to life with dignity of those 1,600 women?”

Activists have welcomed his insistence on tackling sexual violence against women, but say they are dismayed not only by the lack of clarity on issues such as economic and political empowerment of women, but also by some recent incidents.

Earlier this month, Kejriwal was criticised by women’s rights groups for backing his Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who led a mob which is alleged to have illegally detained and harassed a group of African women on suspicion they were part of a drugs and prostitution racket.

Another member of AAP’s leadership, Kumar Vishwas, was forced to apologise after video footage emerged from 2007 in which he made a racist and sexist joke about nurses from Kerala.

“On the question of gender, AAP are not unlike the other major political parties in India,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

“They have not broken new ground, but have remained very carefully within the paradigm of protecting women and have not entered into the terrain of actually challenging patriarchy.”

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Gang Rape as ‘punishment’ is unheard of among Santhals #Vaw

TNN | Jan 25, 2014,

KOLKATA: The news of the gang rape as a punishment in Birbhum district was the most horrific piece of news about atrocities of tribals against themselves. We’ve heard of inter-tribal conflicts but here was one of a Santhal woman being ‘punished’ by Santhal men, reportedly in the name of morality and justice.What constitutes a crime? What is a punishment? At last count, the Indian Penal Code had 23 chapters and 511 sections dedicated to it. The severest punishment regardless of the ‘crime’ in question on consensus is death penalty.

For the Santhals on the other hand, India’s largest homogenous Scheduled Tribe, the severest punishment is bitlaha or excommunication awarded to offences of a marriage union within one’s own sept, sib and close relatives and with someone outside the community. This punishment is decided upon by the village council, the More Horko (the five people) headed by the Manjhi (the village headman), and his four assistants. Nevertheless, when such a relationship is found out, a warning is given before the pronouncement of the bitlaha.

And then, too, excommunication is not the finality of decisions, there is always an opportunity open for coming back to the community for the guilty, which is done through Jom Jati. If the excommunicated persons show repentance and willingness to regularize their membership, it can be done through a ritual celebration, through which they are readmitted, re-initiated into the community as new members, forgetting the past.

Where then does the heinous punishment by the village council in West Bengal of gang rape in public view of a Santhal girl in an alleged relationship with a married, Muslim man from another village fit?

No one should be punished for choosing their partner in life. It’s an individual decision and should be respected. And gang rape as a punishment brings out the worst of us as human beings: Violating a woman is the most humiliating action not only because her dignity and spirit is destroyed but she is deprived of her own will over her body.

That a woman having an affair with a man (married or not) of another community is considered an offence by the Santhals within the scope of their unwritten customary laws is not deniable. But the punishment awarded in Birbhum is unheard of. Santhals, all over the country, like everyone else, are seething in rage, and embarrassment over this judgment and its execution. What went so wrong?

Since I grew up in Kolkata, I spoke to relatives (mostly aunts) and friends in Santhal villages about their thoughts on this. They said this punishment was the first of its kind and were appalled by it. They said ‘rape’ within the community has grown in the last few years.

The Santhal’s administrative organization has been lauded as “an exemplary institution of a direct democracy. It was a poor man’s rostrum, where delegated power was all at discount and where for one night the final authority was the people themselves,” according to J P Singh in his ‘Changing Patterns of Tribal Government’.

In present days, the higher councils of the Pargana and the Hunt council have become antiquated and defunct, but the village council survives, though much of its powers in legal matters have been taken away as the Panchayati Raj has been imposed on our villages.

Following up on the news, there are terms alien to the traditional Santhal administration used; the village head is referred to as the ‘morol’ and not the Manjhi and the village council meeting is ‘salishi sabha’. I don’t know if this is a newly developed village council particular to this region.

Traditionally, punishment for an inter-caste union was seen as a way to maintain the purity of the community intact. What villagers fear the most now is that outsiders want to marry Santhal women to take over tribal land as the Tenancy Acts in tribal areas disallow non-tribals from owning or buying tribal lands. Despite uncountable cases proving such alliances as a way of acquiring tribal property and where the woman once married is not given the place of a ‘wife’ is no justification to execute this judgment.

As a Santhal woman, I am disturbed by what has happened as the village and the women there are reportedly defending the men and their actions. The perpetrators need to be punished. The incident is still being investigated and as we wait to get more clarity on the truth, I stand in solidarity with my Santhal sister. As she battles for her life in hospital, our traditional ways that upheld the dignity of life flicker in the darkness.

(Ruby Hembrom, who studied in La Martiniere for Girls and graduated in law from Kolkata, is an independent publisher of adivasi literature and folklore. She was learning and development trainer with IBM)

  • #India – Why the tribal rape scandal is so unexpected (


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West Bengal woman gang-raped as punishment on orders of ‘kangaroo court’ #vAW

All India | Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh | Updated: January 23, 201

Kolkata A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by at least a dozen men in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on the orders of a medieval-style village “court” that decided to punish her for her relationship with a man from a different community.

The young woman, who is in hospital in a critical state, reportedly told the police that she was gang-raped through the night, so many times that she lost count, by neighbours she knew as uncles and ‘dadas’ (brother). 13 people named by her have been arrested.

The incident took place on Monday at a village called Subalpur in Birbhum, after villagers saw the woman’s friend at her house. The headman and a few others immediately called a “court” and demanded 25,000 each from the woman and the man as ‘jorimana’ or fine.

When the woman’s family said they couldn’t pay, the headman allegedly ordered the gang-rape. She was taken away and sent home the next day, after the assault, she told the police. Her friend’s brother had reportedly paid the “fine” and taken him away.

The woman’s family sneaked out of the village on Wednesday to file a First Information Report or FIR and take her to a hospital.

The incident, in President Pranab Mukherjee‘s home district, comes at a time when the state’s Trinamool Congress government is facing anger over the death of a teenager who was gang-raped twice by the same group of men and set on fire by men known to the rapists, in Madhyamgram, a district just an hour from Kolkata.

Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien tweeted this morning, “Awoke to terrible news of a young tribal girl gang-raped on Khap orders in Birbhum.10 ‘beasts’ swiftly rounded up.Social malaise; must change.”

Four years ago, a teenaged tribal girl was paraded naked on the orders of a similar medieval-style village court in the same district, Birbhum, for her alleged affair with a boy from a different community, sparking a massive outrage in the state.

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#India – Boycotted Maharashtra sarpanch keeps up fight against caste panchayats #mustread

Alok Deshpande

  • Santosh Jadhav (left), former sarpanch of Harihareshwar village in Maharashtra, is seen with his mother Sunanda and elder brother Sandip. The photograph on the wall shows Mr. Santosh Jadhav receiving the Nirmal Gram award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Photo: Alok Deshpande
    The HinduSantosh Jadhav (left), former sarpanch of Harihareshwar village in Maharashtra, is seen with his mother Sunanda and elder brother Sandip. The photograph on the wall shows Mr. Santosh Jadhav receiving the Nirmal Gram award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Photo: Alok Deshpande
  • Santosh Jadhav (second left), former sarpanch of Harihareshwar village in Maharashtra, is seen with his two children, son Manish (left), daughter Pooja and elder brother Sandip. Manish and Pooja are not allowed to play with other children in their area due to a caste boycott of the Jadhavs. Photo: Alok Deshpande
    The HinduSantosh Jadhav (second left), former sarpanch of Harihareshwar village in Maharashtra, is seen with his two children, son Manish (left), daughter Pooja and elder brother Sandip. Manish and Pooja are not allowed to play with other children in their area due to a caste boycott of the Jadhavs. Photo: Alok Deshpande

Santosh Jadhav’s decision to run for sarpanch against the will of the caste panchayat, triggered a vicious social boycott. One that still continues, nine years on.

Santosh Jadhav was once head of his village, Harihareshwar in Maharashtra. But, members of his own community no longer speak to him. His fault was to contest and win local elections in 2004, defying a caste panchayat diktat.

Mr. Jadhav belongs to the OBC Kunbi community. His decision to run for sarpanch against the will of the caste panchayat, triggered a vicious social boycott. One that still continues, nine years on.

“On the day I won the post of sarpanch, the caste panchayat tried to garland me with slippers,” says the 38-year-old. Initially, he stuck to his guns. Under his leadership, the village went on to win the President’s Nirmal Gram award and three State awards. But the ostracism forced him to relinquish his term a year early in 2008.

Yet till today, none of the 80 Kunbi families in the village speak to the Jadhavs. They don’t allow their children to play with their son and daughter. Nor do they do business with them. The general store, which the family used to run, shut down a year after the boycott was announced, with Mr. Jadhav still being the village head.

Mr. Jadhav says his refusal to fall in line with the caste panchayat’s diktats over the years must have led to the current situation. He had rebelled against their earlier calls to ostracise other families. He sold goods from his shop to them and allowed their children to watch TV in his house.

“The caste panchayat tried to stop me from interacting with boycotted families but I refused. So finally, they decided to target me. They took their revenge during the gram-panchayat elections,” he says. His growing social network in the village, must have also made them insecure, he feels.


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#India – Minor Rape survivor ordered to marry the accused #Vaw #WTFnews

Thursday, 05 September 2013 | IANS | Jaipur

A caste council in Rajasthan has ordered the parents of a six-year-old rape victim to get her married to the eight-year-old son of the man accused of the rape, police said Thursday.

The incident occurred at Keshavpura in Kota, 250 km from Jaipur.

The 40-year-old man, identified as Kailash, raped the girl who lives in his neighbourhood about a fortnight ago, police said.

“Kailash locked her in a room and raped her. Instead of registering a police complaint, elders belonging to the girl’s caste called a panchayat (village council) meeting,” a police official said.

The panchayat ordered the girl’s parents to get her married to Kailash’s minor son.

However, the girl’s parents as well as Kailash refused to accept the panchayat’s decision.

And even as negotiations were going on between the girls’ parents and the accused, Kailash again raped the girl Wednesday, police said.

Some social activists came to know about Wednesday’s rape and brought the girl and her parents to Mahaveer Nagar police station in Kota and filed a complaint.

Kailash was arrested, and an investigation launched into the allegations against the panchayat members, said circle officer (city) Banwari Lal Meena.

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After Caste panchayat strips, thrashes woman, lover- 8 arrested in Jaipur


Eight held for stripping of woman, CM orders probe

TNN | Jul 24, 2012, 04.18AM IST

JAIPUR: A day after a married woman and her paramour were tied to a tree, stripped and severely beaten for nearly three hours before a crowd of 1,000 people under orders of a caste panchayat at Sarada area in Udaipur district, the police arrested eight men including the woman’s husband on Monday. The two were ‘punished’ for having an illicit affair by the panchayat, said police.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot directed Udaipur divisional commissioner to probe the matter and prepare a report in a week.

SP, Udaipur Hari Prasad Sharma told TOI that the woman’s husband Hamji Meena had stripped her half naked in front of villagers. “The woman had registered an FIR against 12 identified and several others unidentified people with the Sarada police station on Sunday evening. Of them eight have been arrested while the search is on for others,” Sharma said.

The officer said, “The eight men including Hamji, a former sarpanch Nandlal and five others were booked under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 365 (kidnapping), 323 (causing hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assaulting a woman to outrage her modesty) and 504 (breach of peace). A separate FIR has been lodged for attacking policemen who had gone there to rescue the couple.”

Police said 27-year-old Prakash Meena was having an affair with the 22-year-old woman living in the neighbourhood Limbat Falan near Kolan village in the area. Prakash and the woman had fled the village a fortnight ago. The villagers were looking for the couple and they found them near Keshiriyaji area in Udaipur.

The villagers brought them back and kept them confined throughout the night. “A panchayat was called on Sunday morning in which the woman’s husband and her in-laws were present. They demanded action against the two,” the officer said.

The villagers and half-a-dozen panchayat leaders gathered around 9.30 am. Soon, Prakash and the woman were tied to a tree.

Her husband stripped her and the youth in front of the crowd, and then cut their hair. The police came to know about the incident around 11.30 am and a team was rushed.

“When the cops reached the spot, the villagers surrounded them and started hurling stones. Some vehicles were damaged and two policemen sustained minor injuries,” he added.

The cops managed to untie the couple from the tree but could not take them out of the area. Later, they were taken to a government school around 4 pm and then to the police station.

Chief minister Gehlot called the incident unfortunate. “No one has the right to take the law into their hands. The divisional commissioner has been asked to carry out a thorough enquiry into the incident,” said Gehlot.

Caste panchayat strips, thrashes woman, lover

TNN | Jul 23, 2012,

JAIPUR: A married woman and her paramour were tied to a tree, stripped half-naked and severely beaten up for nearly three hours before a crowd of 1,000 people under orders of a caste panchayat at Sarada area in Udaipur district on Sunday. The two were ‘punished’ for having illicit relations, said sources.

The woman’s husband himself stripped the woman and the youth. Later their hair was cut. When a police team tried to intervene, the villagers hurled stones at them, injuring two cops. Acting fearlessly, the panchayat continued to discuss other penalties on the couple till late evening. Later the police rescued them and took them to Sarada police station.

Sensing the seriousness of the matter, National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma said that she would send a team to the village on Monday to look into the incident.

According to the police, 27-year-old Prakash Meena had an illicit relationship with a 22-year-old woman living in the neighbourhood. “She is a distant relative of his. While Prakash works as a labourer in the village, the woman’s husband was staying in Ahmedabad for the past few years. The woman has a three-year old daughter,” said SP, Udaipur, Hari Prasad Sharma.

The officer said that Prakash and the woman had fled from the village a fortnight ago. “The villagers were looking for the couple and they found them near Keshiriyaji area in Udaipur on Saturday evening,” said the officer.

The villagers brought them back and kept them confined throughout the night. “A panchayat was called on Sunday morning in which the woman’s husband and her in-laws were present. They were demanding action against the couple,” said the officer.

The villagers and half-a-dozen panchayat leaders gathered around 9.30 am. Soon, Prakash and woman were tied to a tree.

Woman’s husband Hamji Meena stripped her and the youth in front of the crowd. They then cut off their hair. The police came to know about the incident about 11.30 am and a team was rushed there.

“When policemen reached there, the villagers surrounded them and started hurling stones. Some vehicles were damaged and at least two policemen sustained minor injuries,” said an officer.

Though the police managed to free the couple they could not take them out from the spot. Later the couple was taken to first a government school around 4 pm and then to the police station.

“We have registered two cases against the woman’s husband, about six members of the panchayat and hundreds of villagers for attacking police team and outraging the modesty of the woman,” said the officer.

When asked why the panchayat continued till late evening, SP Sharma said that they were trying to restore law and order. “We will soon arrest the accused villagers,” he said.

Times View

There are legal ways to settle matrimonial disputes, but the dominance of caste panchayats and their diktats are turning out to be a major bane for the society at large. In the age of caste-driven politics, no party has shown the willingness to come out openly and minimise the role of such panchayats, whose principles are not only archaic but devastating for the society. The government should launch campaigns on the redundancy of such panchayats and urge people to seek the administration’s help in case someone violates norms. Bureaucrats must also take initiatives instead of toying the political line.


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Khap bans mobile for women, love marriage


Posted On Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 09:28:20 AM



The panchayat has also asked women to cover their head before leaving home

The decision by a Khap panchayat of a Uttar Pradesh village banning love marriages and restricting use of mobile phones by women below 40 years has rankled politicians and activists across the country.

The activists have urged the government to motivate people to reject the diktats of such panchayats. “Khap panchayats do not have constitutional power. Therefore, they have no right to make such laws.

We are living in the 21st century and when such incidents take place, it is ironical,” Mamta Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), told reporters.

“The government should take some action and tell the people not to accept what these panchayats say,” Sharma added. Among the bizarre orders pronounced by the Khap panchayat on Thursday in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, women in the Asaara village were asked to cover their heads before leaving homes.

BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman pitched for action from the government. “The diktat that women should cover their head and cannot use mobile phones, all this is wrong,” she said.

“Wherever such things happen, government should take action immediately,” she said. Brinda Karat, politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), added that the caste panchayats are entirely “illegal” in existence.

“Caste panchayats are self-declared bodies which have nothing to do with the framing of laws. All the fatwas, diktats and farmans (orders) directed by them are illegal,” Karat said. Villagers at the community gathering in Asaara village declared that couples who opt for love marriages would be ex-communicated.

The women activists have demanded action from the government to motivate people to boycott the hardliners coming up with such diktats. “Such panchayats have no existence in law and there is no point in agreeing to what they say,” said Girija Vyas, Congress leader and member of parliament.

“Government should come forward and tell the people that there is a constitution. And such panchayats have no identity before it,” Vyas told a news channel. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram too criticised the Taliban-style decision saying that ‘dictates have no place in democracy’. “Dictates have no place in democracy. Police must act against anyone giving dictates,” he said.

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