Manohar Lal Khattar did not say he’ll bring ‘girls’ from Kashmir, but he found the idea funny. And that, in itself, is problematic enough.
A video of a programme in Fatehabad Friday went viral on social media. In the video, Khattar was allegedly seen making a statement about bringing Kashmiri women as brides.
This was his full statement:
“Earlier Haryana was infamous for female infanticide, but after the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, the sex ratio has gone up from 850 to 933 girls per 1,000 boys. Our minister O.P. Dhankad had said that we’ll need to bring daughters-in-law from Bihar. Now some people are saying Kashmir has been opened, we can bring girls from Kashmir also. Jokes apart, if [sex] ratio is fine, then there will be balance in society.”
Dear @RahulGandhi ji, at least at your level, you shouldn’t react on distorted news. I’m attaching the video of what I actually said, and In what context – this will give you clarity of mind. https://t.co/TCjhV0cuiO pic.twitter.com/GfD3SWlETI
— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) August 10, 2019
This isn’t the first time Khattar has reacted to a statement by O.P. Dhankad. While speaking at an event in 2016, Dhankad made a statement about the lack of women in Haryana and the need to bring in ‘brides’ from Jharkhand and Bihar. Khattar dismissed his statement on the stage itself saying that the people of Haryana will not bring in daughters from Bihar and Jharkhand, but educate and support girls in Haryana.
Khattar, for all his efforts to better Haryana’s sex ratio, still doesn’t understand why it’s not a joke.
According to Haryana’s politicians, there are two issues facing the youth — finding government jobs and getting married. Khattar, who claims to have brought transparency in the government job system of the state, has now solved the second problem as well. The sex ratio has increased and so, the youth will not have to face any issues in getting married. Here, youth clearly refers to just men.
Haryana’s chief minister should not forget that the only motive for improving the sex ratio and empowering girls is not to prepare them for marriage. The end goal of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao should not be ‘holy union’. Do we need another scheme to make the politicians understand this simple fact? Why do the leaders from Haryana not talk about girls without talking about their marriage?
Bringing daughters-in-law from another state is not the sign of any progressive civilisation. And we never ask if these women have consented to be ‘brides’ at all. The root of the problem lies in human trafficking. Teenagers from Bihar, Bengal and Assam are bought as brides. They have clearly no say in the matter. Their families are forced by poverty. Due to poor sex ratio, men from Haryana buy these teenagers who later struggle to adjust in a completely new environment. The situation can be tormenting for them.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the statements by many about marrying ‘fair’ Kashmiri women follow the same pattern.
And unlike what Khattar thinks, it is not funny.
In Haryana, bringing young women from other states is also closely related to elections.
Before the 2014 assembly elections, a song named ‘Mol Ki Bahu’ (brides who are bought) had released. It talked about the ‘plight’ of unmarried men. A number of local leaders were seen making promises to bring brides at the time of the elections.
There is another social aspect of Khattar’s statement. Haryana’s khap panchayat leaders have been fanatical about gotra and caste. The state is infamous for ‘honour killings’. The society is not yet comfortable with inter-religious marriages. So, marrying Kashmiri women by force sounds even more dangerous for the women. Add to that the rampant practice of asking for dowry.
Leave aside Kashmir, can Haryana’s men even get married to a woman from their own religion who doesn’t belong to the same caste?
Inter-religious marriage is fine for the Sangh and BJP leaders as long as it is a Hindu man and not Muslim — then they term it as ‘love jihad’.
According to statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau, Haryana has the highest number of reported gangrapes. CM Khattar had even tried to justify the problem. “Boy and girl go around together for a long time, one day there is an uproar, and the girl files an FIR accusing the boy of rape”, Khattar had said.
He should know that such a mindset is unacceptable. What is the point of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in Haryana then? Surely not to bring in women from Kashmir by force.
Read the Hindi version of this article here: मनोहरलाल खट्टर ने नहीं कहा कि ‘कश्मीर से लड़कियां लाएंगे’, उन्हें ये ‘मजाक की बात’ जरूर लगी