Jind, Haryana: A big step seems to have been taken in possibly correcting Haryana's skewed sex ratio. The Mahapanchayat or meeting of village councils that congregated in Jind today has found unanimity and proposed that female foeticide should be treated on par with homicide and murder.
In a first of its kind meeting, at least 200 Khap or caste council leaders from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi came together. There were about 100 women from various villages attending with at least 20 of them sharing the stage with the men. The women were asked to offer their opinion on the issue and various other issues affecting them. CDs talking about the ills of female foeticide were also distributed to the people attending the meet. At the outset itself some leaders present announced that the meet was to clear some of the misconceptions associated with Khaps. "Female foeticide is a very important issue we need to discuss. All men in the future will remain unmarried if this continues," explained Mahavir Sing, a Khap leader.
"They are generally associated with diktats repressing women so it's a big step in breaking away from that image," says 24 year Supriya, a college lecturer who was at the meet. Others like Mukhteri Devi felt that enough women didn't speak up against the crime. "I wasn't invited, but I still came because I feel for the issue," she said.
At the venue, most women still sitting huddled, with their heads covered and faces veiled giving the impression that in these parts of Haryana, they have a long way to go before they can assert their rights.
However the Mahapanchayat proposal that female foeticide equals murder and should be a punishable offence could be considered a welcome move given the draconian fashion in which some village Khaps are known to function.
This was brought to focus once again after the Khap in Baghpat; also the home constituency of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh ruled that women must cover their heads when they step out of their homes. They also ordered that women younger than 40 must not leave their homes at all after sunset.
Story first published:
July 14, 2012 14:04 IST