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.

 

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.

Small Towns, Big Hearts- Love in Khapland


From social boycotts to betrayals, love can conquer all in the hinterland. TOI-Crest brings you some endearing and enduring tales.

LOVE IN KHAP-LAND
SUKHBIR SIWACH, TNN

It was on the campus of Janta College in Charki Dadri, Bhiwani that Anita Juthera and Shribhagwan Legha met and fell in love. After two years of courtship, Legha was keen to tie the knot. “I love you, marry me, ” he pleaded with her.

Anita, more clued into the complications of gotra taboos among Jats, was hesitant. Both belonged to the Phogat gotra. She came from Makdani and he, Samaspur and they were tied by the rules of gotra fraternity which rules out marriage between Jats of the two villages.

“It’s not possible. The khap will oppose our marriage, ” she told him. But Shribhagwan’s persistence wore her down. “Times have changed. These things don’t matter in a modern society, ” the Jat boy had argued naively.

But Anita’s worst fears came true when the couple declared their love. Legha’s family was harassed by furious villagers egged on by a diktat issued by the Samaspur khap. Their crops were destroyed, their tubewell was damaged, and their home was pelted with stones. The police remained deployed around the Legha home for 10 months to ensure that Shribhagwan’s parents were not harmed.

In the meanwhile, Shribhagwan was recruited as a constable in the Rajasthan Police and Anita got admission to a management course in a Jaipur college. Six years after they befriended each other, the couple got married in Jaipur without telling their families. But word spread and all hell broke lose again.

Shribhagwan ducked calls from his father, Randhir Singh. And Anita was on the run from her panchayat. The couple managed to stay safe but their families bore the brunt of khap rage.

“I was told to get the marriage annulled or leave the village and abandon 40 bighas of our land for the panchayat to dispose of as it pleased, ” says Singh, 62. The Phogat khap announced a social boycott. And so vicious was the khap that Singh’s nephew Raj was fined Rs 5, 200 for daring to talk to his uncle.

The situation took a violent turn on March 4, 2010, the “deadline” for the family to leave the village. Their home was stoned and Randhir Singh and his wife Prem Devi had to lock themselves up in their rooms to escape the mobs. The police team assigned to their protection had to ask for additional forces to tackle the situation.

Three days later, the khap had reasons to rejoice – former Haryana chief minister, Hukum Singh, not only presided over its meeting but also expressed solidarity with the Phogat khap’s efforts to implement its diktat against the couple. The panchayat, attended by 1, 000 villagers, demanded that the girl and the boy be “restored” to their families within a week and divorce proceedings initiated.

Randhir Singh as well as Anita’s father, Azad Singh, a retired army captain, pleaded that they could not carry out the diktat because the couple would not listen to them. A few days later, Hukum Singh distanced himself from the panchayat and the khap relented on its stand that Shribhagwan’s family had to leave the village.

“Many villagers still don’t talk to me, ” says Randhir Singh. The village ex-sarpanch, Surender Singh Phogat, claims that no one is prevented from speaking to the family but “formally, we have not lifted the social boycott as yet”.

Anita, 24, and Shribhagwan, 25, have been married for two years now. But they are still in hiding and their families have no address for them. “Our parents have suffered a lot because of us. We will return to the village but only after we secure good jobs that will prove that our love marriage has been a success, ” says Shribhagwan. The two have cleared the written and physical exams for the recruitment of subinspectors in Rajasthan Police and are busy readying for the interview round.

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