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Khap panchayats create history by allowing inter-caste marriages
With the revolutionary decision taken by the Satrol Khap, one can see progress in the hundreds of years old Khap Panchayats. Moving towards modern direction, the Satrol Khap in Narnid of Hisar district gave its nod to inter-caste marriages, this Sunday.

Satrol Panchayat, which covers 36 castes in 42 villages, spread over 250 sq. km. area with 60 percent population of jats amended its 600 year old norm. The Khap also allowed marriages within the 42 villages under its jurisdiction, which was banned earlier.

However, they continued to ban inter-caste marriages in the same and bordering villages and same gotra marriages. Head of the Satrol Khap Panchayat, Subedar Inrda Singh told PTI, ''The decision was taken in the wake of declining male-female sex ratio in the state and the changing social fabric of the society. Nowadays, interaction between men and women has increased and it is not possible to keep them away from each other. Getting into love relationships is very common.''

Terming it as a courageous move, Singh also said, ''Incidents of honour killings have taken place owing to khap norms on marriages. Cases of female foeticide have also led us to take this decision.''

This reform being significant, represents the first moderation in the hitherto unyielding opposition of khaps to inter-caste and inter-village marriages. These rules have led to honour killings, suicides, persecution of couples and caste conflicts in rural belts, and even forced bachelors to get brides from other states. The largest number of killings have occurred owing to inter-caste marriages, followed by same gotra marriages, followed by same-village (42 village radius) marriages.

Sunil Jaglan, Sarpanch of Bibipur said, ''The decision would see long lasting results. Everybody here is glad with the news and looking forward to it. It was the need of time and people.''

As quoted by ToI, Neelam Jain, a research scholar in Delhi University who has worked in several Haryana villages has termed it as a progressive decision and an initiative to weed out social wrongs created by misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Jaglan added, ''It will help in building a good bond between the khaps now. The rate of divorce cases have been rising in Haryana, so maybe it would help in lessening them. People brought woman from outside the region, which created a sort of uncanny in the family.''

With almost every other khap panchayat accepting the change, there are few who feel that this change could destroy the culture and integrity.

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