Having got a bad name for their unlawful social diktats, Haryana's
khap panchayats, as kangaroo courts are known in villages across
the state, are now working to change their image and work towards
improvement of India-Pakistan ties.
The Gulia khap, which is active in 24 villages of the Jhajjar
region, about 40 km from the national capital, is going to
felicitate six human and civil rights activists of Pakistan in
collaboration with the group Sailor Relief Fund (SRF) for their
"outstanding efforts" in the social sector at the International
The function will be organised in Laadpur village Oct 14.
"Former Pakistan federal minister for human rights and advisor to
the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ansar Burney, will lead
the Pakistan activists' group," Sampa Arya, chairperson of SRF,
told IANS here.
"Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal, Deepender Hooda, MP,
and vice chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes Raj
Kumar Verka will also be present at the function to spread the
message of brotherhood and peace among people of both the
nations," said Arya.
It was the first time, she said, that a khap would honour foreign
human right activists for their commendable work. Khaps are viewed
as primarily responsible for encouraging honour killings and caste
and community segregation and passing strictures against those who
do not follow tradtional social customs.
Now, in July this year, a khap of women in Bibipur village of Jind
district had resolved to fight against female foeticide.
The village had a skewed sex ratio of only 845 girls for 1,000
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had announced a grant
of Rs.1 crore (Rs 10 million) for the village following this
initiative.Three other khaps in Fatehabad, Bhiwani and Kaithal
districts also followed in announcing their fight against female
"The function is being organised not only to honour those Pakistan
social activists who are working with dedication at the
international level for social causes but also to make sincere
efforts to strike a better rapport between India and Pakistan,"
Burney, she said, was amongst the few activists who had played a
vital role in getting Indian sailors freed from the clutches of
Somali pirates in 2011.
"It was none other than Burney who helped six Indian families to
get their kin released from the pirates in 2011. One of the
captured sailors was my husband Ravinder Gulia," Arya said.
"Representatives of Gulia khap and residents of Laadpur village
are excited about this historical programme," said chief of Gulia
khap Ramphal Gulia.
"We are inviting people of nearby villages to ensure their
significant participation in the programme," said Gulia, adding
that the programme could be a milestone in the direction of
normalising relations between India and Pakistan.
Apart from the dignitaries, social activists from nearby district
and states and residents from 24 villages of Jhajjar district have
also been invited to the function.
An interaction over bilateral issues between India and Pakistan
would be organised, said Arya.
To ensure the significant participation in the programme, the
Gulia khap representatives and the SRF activists were also
visiting different villages to inform and invite the villagers,
(Ravinder Saini can be contacted at email@example.com)