It is unbelievable that in the 21st century, in Baghpat, a place situated 42 km from the national capital, a panchayat has issued a diktat banning women from entering into love marriages, going to the market unescorted and using mobile phones outside their homes. I wonder how such directions violating citizens’ fundamental rights can be issued by a group. Has the government taken any legal action against those who issued the illegal orders? What is most worrying is political parties look the other way when khap panchayats issue such diktats, because they are worried about their vote banks.

Ujjal K. Pal,

Kolkata

It has become fashionable for some to proclaim their own laws with the least understanding of the Constitution. In the name of protecting women, nobody can violate basic human rights. Women are equal to men in all aspects. There is no need to “protect” them with such chauvinistic measures.

B. Srikanth Kalyan,

Anantapur

We, the English-speaking people, cannot pass a judgment on what panchayats should do or what is good for rural societies. We call those who issued directives in Baghpat ignorant. But what happens when their village girls are at the receiving end? Such panchayats want to prevent the Guwahati type of incidents from happening in their villages. We know the uses youngsters put mobile phones to.

R. Ganesh,

Chennai

Although a few restrictions like limited cell phone use are Taliban-style, directives like compulsory education for girls by the Baghpat panchayat show that a phenomenal change has come about in the thinking of villagers and their collective efforts towards empowerment. The media should not miss the positive aspects of the panchayat ruling.

Neeraj Khandelwal,

New Delhi

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