Khaps rope in desi detectives to checkmate same-gotra love birds
By Harpreet Bajwa - CHANDIGARH
Published: 29th Sep 2013 07:55:50 AM
This khap step is worth a worry; Haryana’s embattled laws unto themselves have set up ‘intelligence units’ to act as moral police. In small towns and cities, if a bidi-smoking middle-aged bloke is hiding himself in that narrow alley leading to a college or near a PCO, or that pushcart vendor is following a jeans-clad village girl to a hostel gate, or a shop renting western outfits or selling mobile phones, chances are that they have been drafted by the khaps to keep a watchful eye on girls from rural background who have come to study or work.
The fellow may not be wearing shades or smoking that Sherlock Holmes pipe but he has been tasked to send photographs to the khap as proofs of his detection. This would ultimately lead the khap to take a decision on the ‘sinning’ girl.
People, mostly in their late 40s, chosen by the khaps from the village panchayats on the basis of their aggressive attitude, will man these ‘intelligence units’, which have been set up by the khaps to keep an eye on the girls’ movements once they are out of their villages. These units will also rope in informers—contacts of villagers in cities and towns besides villagers themselves—to tell them about the girls’ movements.
According to Pradhan of Dhankhar Khap, Om Prakash Dhankhar, one team has been formed comprising five people and more will be constituted in the near future. The Dhankar Khap, which urged the Rohtak administration to take action against erring shopkeepers, is talking to more khaps to make the surveillance widespread. They are also speaking to principals of school and colleges.
The idea of keeping an eye on girls and preventing them from wearing jeans originally came from Dhankhar Khap, which arrived at this decision following the ‘murder’ of a same-gotra couple by the girl’s family in Rohtak. The decision has been taken to check same-gotra marriages. Khaps are against same-gotra marriages, which according to them bring dishonour to the community. (Gotras are sub-castes that are traditionally believed to share a common bloodline.) They openly aid and abet killing of couples who go against this diktat.
Dhankhar who claims wearing jeans is obscene said, “This decision has been taken to keep the tradition intact, as it has come to our notice that the girls attending colleges in cities are leaving their villages in traditional dress but in the cities they change into western outfits to go on outings. They take these dresses on rent and even use mobile phones.” The khaps demand action against shopkeepers who keep the girls’ western clothes or provide these on rent or keep their mobile phones for a sum that range between Rs 200 and Rs 500 per month, he added.