CHANDIGARH: Days after Satrol khap’s decision to allow inter-caste marriages within a cluster of villages, another prominent social council of Haryana – Sangwan khap of Bhiwani district – has given a green signal to such alliances besides contemplating granting permission for inter-religion weddings. Prominent leaders, including Sangwan Chalisa president Colonel (retd) Rishal Singh, met at Charkhi village of Bhiwani on Sunday to relax matrimonial restrictions keeping in view the growing army of bachelors.”We have not only permitted inter-caste marriages, but would even consider permission to inter-religion matches in a khap panchayat to be held within a month,” said the 97-year-old colonel. Col Singh said, “There are already one or two instances of inter-religion marriages in their area as Haryana faces shortage of girls due to skewed sex ratio. As of now, we have not permitted inter-religion marriages openly, but would table this agenda in the upcoming khap panchayat meeting to brighten chances of young men getting settled.”According to khap’s secretary Nar Singh Sangwan, inter-caste marriages were creating disputes in their area in the absence of approval by social council for such weddings. “But there won’t be any such problems now,” he added.“There is no harm in allowing inter-caste or inter-religion marriages as we don’t ask caste or religion of the brides brought from other states,” said Hawa Singh Sangwan, a prominent Jat leader. According to him, almost 15 brides have been brought to his village – Mankwas – from other states, including West Bengal and Assam, after the young men failed to get any marriage proposals from within Haryana. “In few cases, their in-laws even don’t understand language of the brides from outside and interact using gestures and signs,” Hawa said. There around 60 villages dominated by Sangwan gotra in Bhiwani, which are the jurisdiction of Sangwan Chalisa, a gotra-based khap, unlike the area-based Satrol khap which is spread over a cluster of 42 villages in Hisar. Satrol khap has recently allowed marriages within 42 villages but Sangwan khap leaders said that it was not possible in their area as residents were like a family since most of them belonged to the same gotra.Bhiwani, which borders Rajasthan, has witnessed a drastic fall in the child sex ratio (0-6 years) in the past 12 years. According to recent figures of the state health department, there are now just 847 girls for each 1,000 boys in the 0-6 year age group against the overall gender ratio of 941 women per 1,000 men in 2001.
Sangwan said that they understood that the real cause of the problem was gender imbalance in Haryana. “We will run a campaign against female foeticide in our area and would associate other khaps in the movement as well,” said Sangwan, a retired district school sports officer.