A village in Jagraon sub-division of Ludhiana district has announced social boycott of girls and boys who “will elope or solemnize love marriages within the village”. The decision was taken during a meeting of the entire village called few days back. A video of the meeting in which a village resident can be purportedly seen reading out the boycott diktat written on a paper, in presence of village sarpanch, has gone viral.
This gathering of village residents and panchayat members happened at the village Ghalib Kalan of Jagraon where it was announced that “bachhe/bacchiyaan” (youths in village) who will solemnize marriage after eloping or will marry within the village will not only be socially boycotted but also all civic amenities like water, sewage, power etc will be denied to them.
When The Indian Express contacted village sarpanch, he said that the step was taken to “educate” parents of children and to tell them to “stop their children from eloping and doing such things which brings bad name to the village and creates bad influence on other children too”. He said that although no formal resolution was passed by the village panchayat, the “advisory” for the youths and their parents was written on a piece of paper and read out in presence of all villagers so that “parents can take necessary precautions”.
In the video (with The Indian Express), the man who is reading from the piece of paper, standing amid the gathering, says, “Nagar da ikatth hoya jis vich eh faisla hoya ki jo bachhe pind vich hi shaadiyaan kar lainde hain atey apne mata pita di parvaah kitey bina gharan vichon daud ke shaadiyan karke dobara pher kuch dina baad apne hi nagar vich aake rehan jaan lagde han jis karke samuchhey nagar di besti hundi hai atey badnaami hundi hai atey dusrey bachhe bachhiyaan tey vi galat asar painda hai. Samuchhey nagar ne eh faisla kita hai ki jey koi bachha bachhi ek kadam chukde hann taan nagar waasi ohna da boycott karange atey ohna nu jo vi sarkaari sahultaan mil diyan han oh vi khatam karaiyaan jaan giyan… (A village meeting was held today in which it has been decided that girls and boys in village who marry within village or elope without caring for their parents and after marrying return to village and start living here again… this brings bad name to entire village and also creates bad influence on other children in village. Entire village has decide that girls or boys who will take such step will be socially boycotted and all civic amenities will also be withdrawn)”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sikander Singh, sarpanch of the village said that the decision was taken after three girls from the village eloped. “Three young girls in our village recently eloped. Two of them are minors and one who is eighteen got married without her parents consent. Then boys and girls are also having affairs within village, which is creating unpleasantness and setting bad example for other youngsters. We have told parents to keep an eye on mobile phones of children and preferably they should not be given phones at all. Parents should know with whom the children speak and when. The meeting was just to educate and make the parents of youths aware that they should stop their wards from doing things which brings bad name to the village. Parents have been told to take necessary precautions to save the village from getting defamed. We will not encourage such things.”
Asked about legal viability of this ‘advisory’ and boycott, sarpanch said, “We have not passed any resolution on behalf of the panchayat. It was just a unanimous call for parents and youths to save village from such situations. If village elders will not guide parents and youths, who else will…”
Deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, Pardeep Aggarwal said that law will take its own course if any such boycott happens. “They have not passed any panchayat resolution in papers so we cannot pursue any action against the villagers as of now but if any couple faces any boycott or other problem, then law will take its course.”
Importantly, this is the second such case in Ludhiana when a village has announced a ban on love marriages within village. On April 29 last year, the village Chankoian Khurd of Doraha block in Ludhiana had passed a resolution in presence of village gurdwara head and panchayat members ‘banning love marriages’ and ‘boycotting couples’ after a 21-year old boy and a 19-year old girl had married in the court. The couple was also allegedly not allowed to enter village. After intervention of district administration and police, the resolution was rolled back after five days.