27 July 2009

 AIDWA condemns the recent murder of a married youth, Ved Paul Maun, in Singhwal village of Jind district on the orders of the khap panchayat in the area, and demands stern action against the criminals. It is a matter of deep concern that this gruesome killing occurred despite the presence of the Court’s warrant officer, and the posse of policemen sent for the protection of the youth, who had gone there under Court orders to bring his wife home. Such acts of violence have become a recurrent phenomenon in Haryana. A similar fatwa has been passed against a young couple- Ravinder Singh and Shilpa, - in Dharana village of Jhajjar district. The boy’s family has been attacked, and threatened by the local self styled khap panchayat to either give talaq to the girl or face excommunication and further hostility. The Karoda case where Manoj and Babli were gruesomely done to death is still pending in court. There have been two such murders reported from Balla village.

 It is indeed a shame that in a democratic country, the Constitutional rights of youngsters to self choice marriages is being violated with such impunity.  

 It is extremely worrisome that the reactionary forces are trying to pose these crimes as retribution for violation of customary social norms. The assumptions being made regarding kinship, same gotra, etc, between couples are highly arbitrary, and often completely false, and are contrived to keep the local community under the power of the caste based power brokers. To prevent such a breakdown of law and order, it is important for the police and the administration to take swift action against the perpetrators of such crimes.

In such a context, AIDWA demands that

  • The complaints that have been filed in the Jhajjar case should be acted upon immediately, and all the accused named in the FIR should be arrested. Ravinder Singh’s family must be given adequate protection. The young couple’s right to a safe life together must be ensured.
  • In Singhwal village, penal action should be taken against those guilty of issuing a fatwa against Sonia and Vedpal, and announcing a reward for the person implementing the fatwa. The killers of Vedpal must be brought to justice. His family must be given compensation by the Haryana Govt.

A joint delegation comprising of representatives from leading women’s organizations will approach the Haryana Chief Minister, appealing for action on the issues mentioned above.  

Moreover, AIDWA also demands that, given the serious nature of the crime, and the complexities involved, the Central Govt. should formulate a special law to deal with the issue of honour killings.

AIDWA will launch a powerful campaign along with other progressive and democratic organizations, to defend the rights of adults to transact marriages of their own choice.