Killer Khaps: Trying to Reason with a Khaptain | An Interview

The Khap Panchayat (goes by the name of “katta panchayat” in South India) is an old, obsolete and oppressive system of governance that still exists in the country. A recent Supreme Court verdict has called ‘honour killings’ performed by these Khaps as ‘barbaric and shameful’. It is unfortunate that these killings happen in a ‘democracy’ and are supported by fundamentalist, demented politicians who care more about votes than people. Killer khaps-When will they die out?

On a lighter vein, our news team interviewed Mr ‘Khaptain’, the chief of one such Khap in Haryana. Presenting to you the exclusive interaction session:

Q: What is the basis of ‘honour killings’?
A: People from the same gotra are like siblings and should not get married. If they do so, we will kill them.

Allergic to logic (Photo: The Hindu)

Q: But the term gotra only stands for the father’s family. If you talk about scientific basis, shouldn’t you kill those couples too whose mothers have the same gotra? Half the genes come from the mother, after all?
A: Ideally we should, but we don’t give any credit to women—what else do you expect from wife beaters and MCPs? We’re hypocrites in our motto itself.

Q: By gotra you mean people who have the same origin from rishis who lived more than 5000 years ago. Since we have all descended from apes who lived about 5 million years ago, all humans on earth are related. According to your principles, then, no one should be allowed to marry anyone, right?
A: Look, we are not scientists. Who cares whether our principles have any real scientific basis? We just manipulate science for our own ends. Don’t ask stupid questions.

Q: Who are the members of your group?
A: There are three sections in a group—one section decides whom to kill; the second are the killers, people with a penchant for violence, the max brawn and no-brain kind; the third consists of spies who report to us about their friends who are having an affair. We ‘honour’ these people with trophies for their ‘service’.

Q: Don’t you think you’re like ‘terrorists’ who cry ‘jehad’?
A: Of course not! They kill in the name of religion; we kill in the name of tradition—our killing is more useful practically.

Q: Hitler killed Jews, citing ‘purification of human race’ as an excuse. Do you think you’re like him?
A: What an honour to be compared to him! He’s our prime inspiration—a diva and role-model. We intend to purify our community too—our target is to kill as many as he did. Do you know, he too used science (Darwinian selection) to justify his killings!

Q: We heard that you’re starting to pretend to be modern—you’re giving away T-shirts, books, etc. Is there any particular reason?
A: Yes. We’re afraid that the youth have started thinking. If they continue to do so, there is a risk that they might start thinking ‘logically’ and we can’t let that happen. We need to popularize ourselves to ensure that people blindly follow our obsolete customs.

Q: So what methods are you going to use, apart from T-shirts and books?
A: We’re going to rope in Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to compose a song for us. Their song De Ghumake made the World Cup so popular—we’re very much impressed! We also plan to open a Facebook and Twitter account. Even the Taliban has opened an account—we can’t be far behind, can we!

Q: You have banned girls from wearing jeans, banned unmarried girls from using mobiles….where do you intend to stop? And why do you fantasize so much about women?
A: Well, we consider women very beautiful…. very beautiful objects. We shall not stop fantasizing and we shall pass many more laws to ensure that they are not treated like human beings.

Q: We heard that you’ve included women in your group. Considering that you don’t give women any importance, what’s the purpose of this step?
A: To increase our brand value—women always turn more heads.

Q: How can youngsters manage to not be killed by you?
A: When a boy meets a girl, instead of asking “What’s your name”, he should ask, “What’s your gotra”. Boys should wear our Gotra T-shirts so that everyone around knows what gotra they belong to.

Q: How do you manage to function so efficiently in a democracy—where freedom of mate choice is one of the fundamental rights?
A: (excitedly) Oh, but we do so well because it’s a democracy—anyone can do anything here! Dons can become law men, and murder can become a law.

Q: Don’t you think the members of your group, along with the parents who ask you to murder their children, should check into a rehabilitation center for violence?
A: Yes, we should. But I wonder if any shrink (psychologist) would have the courage or patience to treat us.

Q: One last question—you say that one should marry outside one’s gotra. Why do you stop at gotra? Why not extend it to caste, religion, nationality? In case you don’t know—as a race, we are most distant from Europeans and Africans. Why don’t you insist that the people of your village marry them?
A: It is difficult to find Europeans and Africans in the country. We have no objection to their marrying our people—they are not siblings, after all. But they should support ‘honour killings.’

Meanwhile, psychotherapist and professional social problem-solver Anukool Sahayatakar suggests the following options for couples of same gotra who wish to live:
1) Get a certificate that says the girl/guy is adopted, so she/he is not of the same gotra as the parents.
2) Change your religion—the gotra factor would become irrelevant.
3) Bribe the local police to protect you as a special case (learn from the mistakes of Manoj and Babli)
4) Opt for a live-in relationship
5) Flee the village
6) Call up Love Commandos.

About the author

Smrithi Murthy


  • Foot-note:
    There are some pseudo scientific claims that marrying within the gotra would result in genetic diseases. If people can cite science to support honour killings, why not also do what science says – that is, testing couples who wish to marry, for disease genes, before killing them? As a researcher working on genetics in Indian Institute of Science, I would like to reinstate, assert, stress, that the claims of honour killings having a so-called scientific basis are spurious. Please don’t believe them.

  • Very well written. The atrocities committed by these khaps are really outrageous and to top it they try to give scientific backing/reasoning to their insane ideologies and to justify their mass murders, good to see authors/writers like these trying to create awareness.

    • Thank you. Unfortunately, I don’t think the majority of those who follow the system read English, but I’m hoping the few who do will spread the news.

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