Baghpat: Reacting to an Uttar Pradesh village panchayat’s diktat – banning women under the age of 40 years from going out shopping and using mobile phones – Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said there is no place for such diktats in a democracy.
Talking tough, Chidambaram said that the police must act against people who have imposed such a diktat.
Meanwhile, police have registered a case against 10 people of the village panchayat, which had issued the Taliban-like decree banning love marriages and unescorted evening walks by young women.
Reports, today, claimed that the village panchayat also barred young men and women from using mobile phones on roads and in by-lanes.
The members of the panchayat, who met yesterday, also directed the women, under the age of 40, to cover their heads while stepping out of their homes and barred them from leaving their homes unescorted after sunset.
During the congregation, the members of the village panchayat said that love marriages, especially inter-caste marriages, create problems for the society and distort the social fabric. Hence, it was also decided that they will not allow love marriages in their villages, and those who disobey will be banished from the village.
While the members of the panchayat issued a Taliban-like diktat, they also condemned the practice of dowry, calling it a punishable offence.
Villagers belonging to the Asaara village in Baghpat later said that they completely accept the decision taken by the village panchayat.
The Khap panchayat members also decided that they will not allow love marriages in their villages and those who disobey will be banished from the village.
Ironically, these decisions were taken during a congregation of 36 clans in Baghpat, which is barely 50 km from the national capital.
When quizzed by reporters, Superintendent of Police Baghpat VK Shekhar said they have come to know about such diktats by the panchayat and ordered an inquiry by the district intelligence unit into the matter.
He said no arrest has been made in connection with the panchayat’s directives and any action would be taken after getting the report of the intelligence unit.
In northern India, village panchayats or Khaps are powerful institutions, which are hard to defy.