Dalit wedding procession held under police cover in Gujarat

Gandhinagar, May 14. 2019: A day after stones were hurled at a wedding procession of a Dalit groom allegedly by upper castes at Khambhisar village in Modasa tehsil of Aravalli district leading to violence and police lathicharge, the marriage procession was carried out peacefully on Monday amid heavy police security.

The wedding procession was discontinued on May 12 after violence erupted as stones were hurled allegedly by local upper castes, mainly Patidar community members. Around 12 persons sustained injuries in the stone pelting, including half a dozen policemen.

In less than a week’s time, this is the fourth such incident in Gujarat in which Dalits have faced resistance from local upper castes while carrying out wedding procession in their villages.

Violence had erupted at Khambhisar village as the wedding procession of a Dalit youth, Jayesh Rathod, reached the main road where upper castes allegedly opposed to Dalits taking out such processions had organised yagnas and havans, a religious ceremony.

On Monday after the wedding procession of Rathod, who works with a state-owned power company, concluded peacefully, Aravalli Superintendent of Police Mayur Patil said he held a meeting with the villagers on Sunday night to broker peace. “We held a meeting of village peace committee in the village. And today, the wedding procession was held peacefully on a pre-decided route under police protection,” Patil said.

According to the SP, the wedding guests had gone to a nearby village and returned in the evening as there was heavy police deployment in the village to preempt any untoward incident.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the 25-year-old groom said, “The wedding procession was not planned for today (Monday), but was held under police protection due to what had happened yesterday. The original plan was to hold the procession on Sunday. Today, we were busy in the marriage function, so no complaint has been lodged. Once the rituals get over, we will certainly lodge a complaint.”

Patil said that police will register an FIR as and when the Dalits community members will lodge it. “At present, our priority is to maintain law and order and bring social harmony back to the village,” he said.

In the last three days,there have been several instances of wedding procession of Dalit youths being held under police protection, fearing attacks by people belonging to the upper castes.


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