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The Old Boys Stalked By Modern Times

A stalking victim finds unsolicited support from her caste khap. Here’s why it signals no gender-just turn.

The Old Boys Stalked By Modern Times
My Way Or No Highway | Photograph by Indian Express Archive
The Old Boys Stalked By Modern Times
outlookindia.com
2017-08-19T11:29:33+05:30

Haryana’s khap panchayats are in the news again, this time for a rather unusual reason. The Kundu khap, a self-regula­ted caste panchayat of the Kundu Jat clan, hit the Rohtak-­Jind highway last week demanding justice—hold your breath—for a young woman. Vernika Kundu, a young DJ from Chandigarh, was rec­ently stalked by two men and later complained that the police had wat­ered down charges against the ­alleged stalkers. The Kundu khap warned the Haryana government of a wider agitation unless kidnapping charges were restored.

Quite in contrast to the stand taken by the Kundu khap in the Chandigarh case, Haryana’s khaps have earned a bad reputation due to their harsh diktats against women and young people. Khaps wield considerable influence over society wherever Jats are the dominant caste, and the institution has inv­ited opprobrium for imposing sanctions defending caste orthodoxy from social change. In fact, the word ‘khap’ is most closely associated in the public mind with the phrase ‘honour...

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