Police officials and the Block Development Panchayat Officer (BDPO) recently came to the rescue of a young couple in the Chankoian Khurd village of Ludhiana district, Punjab. This was after village elders, the sarpanch (village head), two other members of the panchayat, and a local gurudwara committee head passed a controversial resolution seeking the boycott of couples who had opted for a “love marriage.”
The resolution was rolled back after the police and BPDO visited the village.
According to The Indian Express (TIE), more than ten days after a 21-year-old boy and 19-year-old girl got married at a court in Ludhiana, influential members of the village came together and passed this resolution on April 29.
Both the sarpanch and the girl’s family, which did not approve of the marriage, allegedly told the couple to leave the village.
BPDO Navdeep Kaur condemned the panchayat’s decision and argued that the resolution was “illegal” since the panchayat did not register it in its official proceedings.
“We have counselled the village panchayat today as their decision was wrong, and I personally condemn this act. However, they have announced its rollback. The couple will be provided security,” she told TIE.
Before the visit of these officials, the resolution was pasted at key areas of the village, including its bus shelter, village chowk and dairies.
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“Boys and girls who get married as per their own choice will be socially boycotted, and the villagers who speak to such couples will also be boycotted. Shopkeepers cannot sell any goods to such couples, and they will neither receive any facilities from the panchayat nor have the right to use common land,” read the resolution, according to TIE.
The boy’s family reportedly had no issue, but the girl’s family, particularly the grandfather, held serious reservations against the marriage. He, in fact, threatened to self-immolate.
According to fellow villagers, “he had a problem with the couple getting married as they had grown up in the same neighbourhood, and shared a sibling-like relationship.”
Now he is ready to accept the marriage. The girl’s father, meanwhile, said that he never had a problem to begin with.
Sarpanch Hakam Singh, meanwhile, has washed his hands off the problem. “We are not against love marriages. We had to pass this resolution to control the situation that day as girl’s grandfather threatened to immolate himself if the girl and boy continued to live in the village. The resolution has not been entered in the panchayat proceedings, so it is unofficial. We will remove the copies of resolution pasted at some points in the village, and are rolling it back,” he told TIE.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)