Khaps caution against same-gotra weddings

Rohtak (Haryana)


Notorious for pronouncing bizarre verdicts on social issues, Haryana's community councils - the khaps - Sunday asked the Arya Samaj not to solemnise at its temples weddings between couples from the same gotra (lineage) and village.

The khaps have objected to such marriages being solemnised, saying that these violated the century-old custom.

The khaps have also warned Arya Samaj, a reform movement that has its own temples, that they would not hesitate to launch a state-wide stir against it if it did not stop formalising weddings within the same gotra and village.

The decision to caution Arya Samaj was taken at a meeting of Sarva Jatiya Khap held at Chhotu Ram Dharamshala in Haryana's Jhajjar town, about 70 km away Delhi, Sunday evening.

The meeting presided over by Jai Singh Ahlawat, chief of Ahlawat Khap, was attended by various khaps of Yadav, Balmiki, Dhanak, Prajapati and Saini communities, except Jats.

Om Prakash Dhankhar, chief of Dhankhar Khap, told IANS: "The Arya Samaj temples are turning out to be safe haven for those youth who wish to get married within the same gotra and village by ignoring custom."

"Priests of Arya Samaj temples do not check anything except age proof of the couple while solemnising the wedding just to get donation for the same. They even do not try to verify whether the boy and girl belong to same clan or not, whereas the priests must keep all these things in their mind before doing so," Dhankhar said.

He said that youths getting married this way were using the Arya Samaj to complete legal formalities of their marriage even if these were against social norms.

He maintained that the khaps were not against the marriages at Arya Samaj temples but wanted the priests to call the sarpanch (village headman) or any other functionary of the village of the man and woman before formalising the wedding so as to ensure that the marriage was being solemnised as per custom.

Dhankhar said that a delegation of khap panchayats would also meet top functionaries of Arya Samaj soon to seek prevention of such marriages.

"Amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act was also discussed in depth at the meeting to make a consensus among all communities to raise the issue in an efficient manner," said the khap leader.

Khaps in Haryana, including those of Jat community, are demanding amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, saying that marriages in the same gotra and village should not be allowed since these were against social norms.

Khap leaders claim that men and women from the same gotra or village were like siblings and they could not get married. - IANS