HARYANA has everything going for it. The Economic Survey 2018 has placed it among the top six states in the export of goods and services. Its GST compliance is competitive: the fifth largest contributor in the country. It is among the wealthiest states, with the third highest per capita income, and ranks among the top three in ease of doing business. A Crisil report places it among the top three fastest growing states in the past four fiscals. It has brought acclaim, again and again, with its men and women, together, breaking new ground in sports. In schemes for the girl child, its initiatives have been noteworthy. The socio-economic indicators are in place, and yet there is no end to the gory tradition of ‘honour’ killing in the state.
In the latest from the horror stable, a young Jat girl is killed for eloping and marrying a Dalit youth. The two had sought police protection. The youth was arrested after her documents revealed she was a minor. Fearing familial wrath, the girl chose a shelter home over her own home. She was being brought to Rohtak for a court appearance when motorcycle-borne assailants shot her and her Personal Security Officer (PSO). Two more lives lost, in an endless list, to the insanity of social ‘stigma’. Despite the economic strides and stress on education, the social reality in Haryana’s smaller towns and villages remains unchanged, and inescapable. Upper caste families are mocked if their progeny dare develop alliances with lower castes, unleashing an array of sound and fury, culminating in cold-blooded murder(s).
Haryana needs greater social awakening beyond the ritualistic obeisance to Gita Mahotsavs. The khap panchayats must take the lead or Haryana’s growth story will remain fragmentary. The caste divide must now go. The intonation of ‘Number 1 Haryana’ loses its high sheen when the blood of the innocent is splattered indiscriminately at the altar of social coercion. The young pay for their crime — love. For which, regrettably, the price is death.