Khap panchayats in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday said they will oppose same gotra marriages before the Supreme Court, which had sought their views, following a plea to curb violence against couples at the behest of such caste councils.
At a meeting of over 200 khap leaders, the self-styled caste councils were unanimous in their opposition to same gotra marriages. They stressed that they have never supported honour killings, meeting convenor Surendra Singh told journalists.
The khaps also demanded that they be recognised by the government and granted legal rights.
"Khap Panchayats cannot tolerate same gotra marriages. We will continue to oppose them publicly," Singh said, adding that the meeting passed two resolutions on the issue and their stand will be conveyed to the Supreme Court.
Singh said that the issue of same gotra marriages was not only connected to social beliefs and traditions but there were scientific reasons for opposing such alliances.
"The khap leaders said that they never supported honour killings. The intention is to check social evils and protect our traditions," he said.
The meeting came days after the Supreme Court invited Khap Panchayats to hear their views before issuing any order to stop them from harassing and killing couples, particularly women, in the name of family honour, for entering inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages.
Dealing with a PIL on khap-dictated violence, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said that before passing any order, it would like to hear the views of Khap Panchayats and said they can come before it on the next date of hearing on January 14.
In the meantime, the bench had said as a pilot project, it would examine the situation in three districts where the Khap panchayats are very active. It also summoned the superintendents of police of Rohtak and Jind districts of Haryana and of Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh to apprise the court of the situation there.