This Khap Panchayat Asks Villages to Follow Two-Child Limit

This Khap Panchayat Asks Villages to Follow Two-Child Limit

Khap panchayat at UP's Shamli district asks villages to follow 2-child norm

Shamli: At a district in Uttar Pradesh racked by communal violence last year, a "khap panchayat" has ordered 40 villages to follow the two-child limit for good health and prosperity.

The leader of the "Khap panchayat" or village council, Suraj Chaudhary, is based in the Baiswal village. He told NDTV that the diktat has been welcomed by all communities.

"Too many children lead to economic poverty and backwardness, so we have asked both communities and 40 villages to follow this if possible," said Mr Chaudhary, who has been Khap leader for 27 years.

The Shamli district was badly affected by clashes last September in neighbouring Muzaffarnagar, which left over 60 dead and tens of thousands displaced. Some villages like Baiswal escaped the worst of the violence.

The panchayat's orders have drawn mixed reactions in a region where wealthy Jat landowners coexist with Muslims families that are extremely poor, and survive on Rs 150. Many villagers say they agree with the elders, but some are apprehensive.

"I want to have children till I have a son at least," said a woman, reflecting a line of thinking shared by many families with a large number of children.

Khap Panchayats are all-male unelected village bodies that are notorious for issuing extra-judicial diktats in parts of rural India, especially in northern states. They have largely been in the news over killings of young couples who eloped.

For the first time, an order by the Khap is being seen as progressive, especially in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state.

With a 1.2 billion-strong population, India has avoided any coercive policies and does not enforce any limit on families.
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