Representational image of a village panchayat
A khap panchayat recently issued directives that were favorable for ending female foeticide and dowry system. Picture: Representational image of a village panchayatReuters

The notorious Khap panchayat in Rajasthan stirred another controversy on Monday after twelve members of the village council tried to set fire to a woman accused of witchcraft.

According to reports, the incident took place in Ghati Fala of Junijhar village, Udaipur, after the victim and her husband filed a police complaint against a dozen people accusing them of pouring kerosene over her and their attempts to burn her alive.

The woman also said that she was assaulted and humiliated by members of the Khap Panchayat. The council, which is a prominent political structure in rural parts of northwest India, is infamous for imposing controversial diktats on women folk from villages. The panchayat members are also suspected to have been involved in several honour killings in areas that fell under their jurisdiction.  

The police had arrested three people in connection with the crime on Tuesday.

The Khaps' act comes at a time when the Supreme Court ruled out their decree which banned women from carrying mobile phones and dressing inappropriately. Last week, the Khaps of a village in Hisar, Haryana, announced a ban on the usage of mobile phones by youngsters and prohibited girls from wearing T-shirts and jeans.

Recently, the Supreme Court summoned the Khaps to hear their opinion before issuing any order to curb the dictated violence against young couples who married from same gotra.

The Khaps stressed that they never resorted to such acts but were instead maintaining and protecting their traditions. They also put forth the demand of being recognised as a government body and urged to be granted legal rights.

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