A mahapanchayat of 84 villages of Balian Khap would be held on October 10 and this time, it is the women who would be running the show. The decision — a protest against the government’s “discriminatory attitude” – is giving sleepless nights to the administration.
The state government had banned panchayats in western Uttar Pradesh following the riots in Muzaffarnagar and more recent violence in Meerut — both of which had been triggered by mahapanchayats. The arrests that followed drove the local men underground.
Now, women across the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar and Shamli are busy organising panchayats. In one such panchayat at village Kutba on September 29, hundreds of women and young girls gathered from adjoining villages to protest against the “reign of terror” by the police.
The administration intends to enforce the ban. On Tuesday, a proposed panchayat of 10 villages in Harauli was cancelled, said R Vishwakarma, inspector general, law and order. The main grievance of people is the arrest of youths without proper verification, he added. “Though nobody has given an official call for a panchayat on October 10, we are monitoring every development,” said Brijbhusan, inspector general, Meerut zone.