Modi's Beti Bachao mission finds unlikely supporters: The Khaps

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme for girls have an unusual ally in Haryana and neighbouring states. Khaps, notorious for their anti-woman attitude, have decided to become protector of the girl child and support his ambitious initiative.

Around 100 Khap representatives from three states of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have decided to end female foeticide in their respective communities and make lives safer for the girl child. They would socially boycott people indulging in female foetecide and also honour those who provide information on it or help save lives of the girl child.

Modis Beti Bachao mission finds unlikely supporters: The Khaps

Representative image. Reuters

"We are very serious about our work and the result will be for everyone to see soon," Om Prakash Mann, president of All India Jat Mahasabha, member Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and spokesman of the Khaps in Haryana, told Firstpost. The community organizations decided on this at Bhiwani on 18 April.

Mann said the meeting of the Jat Mahasabha was held to promote 'Beti bachao Beti Padhao' at Jat Dharamshala in Hisar last week in which representatives of various Khaps were presents. Discussions were held on the female alarming foetecide cases in Haryana, said Mann. Among the participants were youth president of the All India Jat Mahasabha, Ranbir Singh, first woman president of Satrol Khap-Sudesh Choudhary, president of Kajla Khap, Rajmal Kajla.

"The Khaps also plan to honour women who excel in any field. Khaps who have fought for the rights of the women will also be honoured during our programme to encourage others. Our mission will continue till we achieve a 50-50 ratio of boys and girls in our society," said Sudesh Chaudhary, woman president of Satrol Khap. To highlight their work, the Khaps are also preparing a website of their own. Kajla Khap already has its website.

But while the Khaps are making a pledge to promote the Beti bachao, Beti Padhao programme, they are also demanding that the Jats must get back the reservation facility that the Supreme Court had denied recently. Mann said that a delegation of Khaps had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi over filing a review petition for Jat reservation to which he had readily agreed but asked for a favour in return of supporting awareness about the Beti Bachao programme.

Mann said the Jats do not support stance of Jat politicians like Kiran Coudhary of the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MP from Hisar, Dushyant Chautala and others like them of implementing reservation on the economic criteria. "We are ready to support the government, but the government too should take care of us," said another Khap leader Randip Singh. Sudesh Dahiya said Jats had become economically weaker and they needed reservation at all cost.

"Yes, PM Modi took a commitment from us to end female foetecide if we wanted the government to restore reservation facilities for Jats," said Sudesh Chaudhary adding, "Haryana has one of the lowest rates of sex ratio in the country with just 877 females per 1000 males, which is truly alarming."

Another senior woman Khap leader Dr Santosh Dahiya, president of the All India Mahila Shakti Manch, said her organization has been carrying on a signature campaign in the state to end female foetecide. "We plan to present a copy of one lakh signatures against female foetecide to the Prime Minister… We have already collected 35,000 signatures so far," she told Firstpost.

Dahiya, who is also women’s wing president of the Sarv Jatiye Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat, said it was a wrong notion that the Jats have started opposing female foeticide only now. “Organisations like our All India Shakti Mahila Manch have been carrying out campaigns for several years. Khaps have been working for the welfare of society.

Welcoming the Khaps campaign against female foetcide, social activist, Khushwant Singh, said the Khaps never advocated honour killing, though they did strictly follow traditional social norms. "Over the years the Khaps have earned a bad reputation. Their save the girl child campaign will help them salvage their image in society," he said.

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Updated Date: Apr 21, 2015 10:47:37 IST

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