Khap panchayats demand closure of Arya Samaj temples ROHTAK: Hayrana khap panchayats have demanded closure of Arya Samaj temples for "encouraging inter-caste and love marriages." The demand was raised during an all-caste meeting held in Jhajjar on Sunday. The meeting was held in an attempt to rope in people of different castes, including dalits and other backward classes (OBCs), to strengthen their case during arguments in the Supreme Court against honour killing and same-gotra marriages. Om Prakash Dhankar, pradhan of Dhankar Sabha, said that khap panchayats also adopted a resolution to close down the Arya Samaj temples. "We came to this conclusion that despite objections from the khaps and society, these temples have failed to heed to the prevailing custom and social norms and continue to solemnise marriages even without the consent of parents and family members of the youngsters," said Dhankar. The khap leader stated that priests in the temples must adhere to certain guidelines while solemnizing marriages, which include presence of parents of the bride and groom and also officials of panchayats of their respective villages. Sube Singh, spokesperson of Sarv Khap Panchayat also raised the same demand stating that Arya Samaj temples were promoting marriages which were in violation of social norms and customs of the society. The khaps have got proactive after the Supreme Court recently directed the Centre to curb the role of khap panchayats in issuing diktats against same-gotra couples. The apex court has also asked khaps to put forth their views before framing guidelines to rein in the khaps after which, the khap leaders have been holding a series of meetings to justify their role and demands, which include amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) to ban samgotra (same gotra) and same-village marriages. The khaps said they would not accept the law if the government tried to force their way in muzzling the khap panchayats and the prevailing customs to destroy the social fabric in this region. "We would launch an agitation against any such law," warned Dhankar. When contacted, Acharya Baldev of Arya Samaj stated they had issued directions to all Arya Samaj temples in Haryana not to solemnise marriages without permission of parents of the bride and groom. "We are in agreement with khap panchayats on the same-gotra and same-village marriages. Arya samaj promotes inter-caste marriages and not the same gotra marriages," said Acharya Baldev. Khap panchayats demand closure of Arya Samaj temples - The Times of India *********************************** Circuses are practically non existent in the country. However, the clowns seem to have joined politics and the Khaps. Never a dull moment!