Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat demands ban on same gotra marriage

Pressing ahead with their demand for amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, the Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat on Sunday resolved to slap a token fine of "ek aana" (currency unit formerly used in India) on MPs and MLAs if they failed to meet its demand by June 19. In a meeting held in Jind, which was attended by around 2,000 representatives of khap panchayats, they also ruled out establishing any matrimonial ties with the law-makers' kin if their demand is not fulfilled within the stipulated time period. Besides, the congregation of khaps or caste councils, notorious for their diktats prohibiting marriages within same sub-castes, also threatened to launch a stir and stop all kind of supplies to the National Capital Region of Delhi on June 20.
Not stopping at that, the leaders announced to stop repayment of bank loans, water and electricity bills if their demands are not accepted. Prominent among those who attended the meeting was BKU president Mahendra Singh Tikait. "We have been forced to take these decisions against MLAs and MPs because their silence (on same-gotra marriage ban) clearly endorses the government's stand of not making any changes in the Hindu Marriage Act. Besides, since they believe that they are comfortable in the present system, let them marry off their children within their families. It is a social boycott," said Satbir Singh Chahal, the president of All India Jat Swabhiman Sabha. Justifying their stand, Dada Baljit, the president of Maliks khap, claimed, "We are here to protect our age-old tradition and culture. The defaulting MLAs and MPs shall have to deposit the fine with their village priests and obtain a receipt before going out to attend a social or political function.... One thing is for sure, we wont allow any social wrong under the garb of changing trends."

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