Special Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Social and political activists of Haryana have decided to launch an awareness campaign to expose the hidden agenda of “ Khap Panchayats which are trying to divert the attention from the real issues in Haryana''.

The decision was taken at a seminar organized by the Democratic Forum at Panchkula which was attended by civil liberty and social activists. Haryana State president of All India Democratic Women Association Jagmati Sangwan asserted that Khap Panchayats were trying to retain their traditional hold and hegemony in rural Haryana with obvious bias against women and weaker sections. “These khaps have sensed that the individualistic marriages can change the social structure of society and this may cause a big setback to their hegemony. They are trying to create a pseudo-hype in society that brothers and sisters have started marrying each other which will destroy the social set up. Although the fact is this that out of dozens of marriage cases against which the khaps pronounced their diktats, only one exceptional case of same gotra marriage ( Manoj and Babli) stood out. They are making a non-issue into a major issue''.

Ms. Sangwan said khap panchayats were trying to exploit the popular sentiments in the name of same gotra despite the fact that such marriages were not prevalent in the State. Marriages solemnized under tradition and customs were also under great danger due to demand for dowry and disregard towards women in Haryana's society.The hidden agenda of these forces was to “strengthen certain vested interests of people who were aiming at social dominance of weaker sections of society'', she added. D. R. Chaudhary, Member, Haryana Administrative Reform Commission, said khaps were exploiting emotions of common people for their vested interests and they are least bothered about genuine problems of the people.