iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sat Singh, Hindustan Times
Rohtak, February 20, 2014
Questioning the order of the Supreme Court of allowing the youth of marriageable age to marry a partner of their choice, Naresh Tikait, national president of Bharatiya Kisan Union and head of the Balyan khap, on Thursday urged the apex court not to entangle itself in khap customs.
He said that according to the Supreme Court order, any youth is free to marry anyone, be it marriage in the same gotra, clan or village. Talking to Hindustan Times, over phone, Tikait, who hails from Sisoli village of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, said, "The marriage of our children is solely our business. We invest lakhs on their education and upbringing, but when it comes to marriage, they run away and live with the girl of the same gotra or village under the protection of police as directed by the Supreme Court."

He said the order that allowed the youth to marry within the clan would lead to crimes like honour killings as parents were left with no choice to save face. He said he was not challenging the Supreme Court, but urging it not to entangle itself in their customs as it was their personal matter.

On the institution of marriage, he said for hundreds of years parents had been deciding the marriage of their children, and the court should not interfere in their personal matters. Khap panchayats across Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have been raising the demand of amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act to stop the marriages of youth within the clan and village. Marrying within the clan and village is a taboo in the khap belt of north India.