The state has intervened in the gangland of western Uttar Pradesh to give protection to young people who want to marry against the wishes of the community.
Muzaffarnagar, where the diktat of the khap (clan) nullifying legal weddings is visible, may soon have a marriage cell set up by the district administration. The Muzaffarnagar (western UP) district administration hopes to make the cell functional in 15 days.
People have to enrol with the cell in order to get police protection when they wed.
District Magistrate Santosh Yadav told HT on the phone: “We will give wide publicity so that young people are aware that they have something to fall back on should they have a problem in getting married.”
Of late, marriage among people belonging to the same gotra (cognate group having a mythical ancestor) has come sharply into focus, with khaps severely opposing such unions.
Prominent politicians such as former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala have supported the khaps.
A court in Karnal, Haryana, gave a life term in March this year to a khap head accused of giving the ‘death sentence’ to an ‘erring’ couple in 2007. The bodies of the couple were later found in a canal.
In Jind (Haryana) in August last year, a young man called Vedpal was lynched for marrying a girl of the same gotra.
Historian Prem Chaudhary says: “One could expect khaps to offer resistance (to the marriage cell). But they know that if the state becomes serious, there is little they can do.”