Gujarat: Upper Castes Allegedly Boycott Dalit Community For Letting Bridegroom Ride A Horse
Upper castes at Lhor village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district has allegedly resorted to social boycott of a Dalit community because a bridegroom from the community rode a horse at his wedding procession, reported Indian Express.
Police registered an FIR on May 9 based on the complaint of the bridegroom’s father, under different provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Indian Penal Code. Five upper caste men, including the sarpanch and deputy sarpanch of the village, may be arrested soon, Mehsana SP Nilesh Jajadia said.
What had happened?
50-year-old Manubhai Parmar’s son Mehul, 24, got married on May 7, and a procession was taken out in the village, with the groom riding a horse. However, the complaint said that a day after the wedding, sarpanch Vinu Thakor and deputy sarpanch Baldev Thakor made an announcement at the village temple, asking all villagers, except the ‘Harijans’ (Dalits), to assemble at the village panchayat.
Three Dalits witnessed the panchayat, in which upper caste people claimed that they were “disturbed” over this marriage procession because Dalits in the village “did not maintain their limits”.
The FIR stated that five men, identified as sarpanch Viju, deputy sarpanch Baldev, Bhopa Thakor, Manu Barot and Gabha Thakor, called for boycotting the Dalits, as a part of which, they will not be given food or work, or be allowed to sit in vehicles. Reportedly, anybody violating the “rules of the social boycott” would be fined Rs 500 and forced out of the village.
Following this declaration, a Dalit woman was denied service when she went to buy flour. Another Dalit woman, too, was not allowed to buy grocery.
“Some villagers asked me not to take out a procession while I was riding a horse. We then sought police’s help after we learned about the social boycott today morning. No one even gave us milk in the morning to make tea,” PTI quoted Parmar saying. They were also not allowed to fetch water from the village well.
The Logical Indian take
This incident comes days after upper-caste men allegedly beat a 21-year-old Dalit man to death in Uttarakhand for having dinner sitting on a chair in front of them at a wedding.
This incident took place on the night of April 26 in Shrikot area of Tehri Garhwal district. The man, who was rushed to a Dehradun-based hospital the next day after he was beaten, succumbed to his injuries on the afternoon of Sunday, May 5.
Caste-based discrimination is an ugly reality in India. Violence against and social boycott of Dalits on account of their caste is a horror that prevails in various parts of the country.
It is true that the Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights for all its citizens, but on the dark side of the country, these promises have done little to improve the condition of millions of people who are unfortunate enough to be born into the horrors of caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
It is extremely unfortunate that such an evil system has existed unchallenged for decades now. People of lower castes who have dared to revolt have often been crushed by a society which has lived on with the deeply ingrained belief that caste determines a person’s social status.