I was shocked on reading that some khap panchayats of Haryana have imposed a dress code for girls and appointed men to watch and report on those who violate the “code” (“Jeans, mobiles and khap panchayats,” Oct. 19). The State should take stringent action to curb the tendency of khap panchayats to issue such unreasonable diktats. The argument that women’s attire provokes men to commit crimes against them is unacceptable in a civilised society. It is a sick mind that prompts men to commit crimes against women.
The charge by khap panchayats of Haryana that girls are agents who “pollute society and bring a bad name to the community” marks a new low in our social discourse. While India is trying to move towards equality, the khaps are forcing the country to move backwards.
Girls and women in other States dress more liberally and use a mobile phone but the ever-increasing diktats in ‘khap States’ have forced girls there to keep off such “immoral” activities. Yet honour killings are on the rise.
Supanpreet K. Ramana,
Khap panchayats fail to understand that India is a democracy which guarantees freedom to its citizens. The Constitution upholds the principle of equality and prohibits gender-based discrimination. There are khaps that work to eliminate social evils such as female foeticide, dowry, and domestic violence but, sadly, they are very few in number.
Forcing young women to adhere to a certain dress code not just amounts to depriving them of their fundamental rights. It also shows khap leaders as parallel lawmakers and adjudicators. They commit gruesome atrocities on those who defy their diktats. Time and again, we are cruelly reminded that there still exists a wide ideological gulf between modern Indian society and khap leaders.