Haryana CM says he’s against same-gotra marriages too

ROHTAK: After keeping mum on ‘sagotra’ or same-gotra marriages as diktats by khaps spread terror across Haryana and village elders enforced their violent writ in the name of tradition and honour, state chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda finally bowed before their might, saying he too was opposed to marriages within the same gotra. Hooda further pinned a badge of legitimacy on kahaps, describing them as informal social organizations.

Hooda has been skirting the issue, with statements like no one would be allowed to take law into their hands. However, on Thursday, he made his stand clear at a press conference in Rohtak, though he clarified that it was his ‘‘personal’’ view.

“Khap panchayats work as informal social organizations like NGOs. But any such organization must work in conformity with the law of the land. If any organization does good work, it earns appreciation. Same is the case with khap panchayats,’’ he said.

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s first comments on same-gotra marriages toe the khap line. The CM’s remarks came in the wake of a panchayat of Hooda khap, his own clan, held in a Rohtak a week ago. The panchayat had opposed same-gotra marriages and had also demanded that the Hindu Marriage Act be amended to make matrimony within the gotra unlawful.

Hooda, however, did not comment on the khap demand for amendment of the Hindu Marriage Act. After outrage by civil society groups, Haryana police had started acting against khap violence and booking cases against them. His statements endorsing khaps and willy-nilly their actions may now make the cops cautious about prosecuting khap members.

Hooda’s silence on khaps had intrigued politicians as many of his party MPs, including Naveen Jindal, Shadi Lal Batra and Jagbir Malik, had openly supported the khap panchayats’ stand on same-gotra marriage.