It was supposed to be the biggest day in her life. The rituals of marriage were on, and despite a few of the bridegroom’s friends behaving in a drunken manner, this Bhil woman from Bijanipura village in Guna district had managed to hold her temper long enough for the final knot to be tied.
But it was when the uncouth men began “stumbling” over her after the ceremony that the bride decided she’s had enough.
Twenty-year-old Saguna – standing tall before the guests at her wedding on Monday – refused to accompany the groom, Bablu Singh, to his Samodi home.
Now, much as it may seem as the plot of a Bollywood potboiler, this incident really did occur in the Chachauda police station limits of Madhya Pradesh.
Confirming the incident, police station in-charge Shashi Bhushan Raghuvansi stated that both the sides had lodged complaints of assault against each other.
Five persons suffered minor injuries in the resultant chaos, he said, adding, “The girl has not lodged any complaint of sexual harassment so far. If she lodges it, we will take action.”
Though a policeman who was part of the preliminary investigation team confirmed the harassment angle, he said Saguna has decided to defer the complaint until the matter is heard by a caste panchayat a few days later.
Elaborating on the incident, police sources said that the matter had been coming to a head through the course of the ceremony.
Earlier in the day, the bride had witnessed the groom’s friends sexually harass women from her party.
However, their antics only got wilder as the evening wore on, and by the end of the ceremony, Saguna found herself at the receiving end.
She, quite understandably, lost her temper.
Meanwhile, people from both sides entered into a scuffle – even going to the extent of attacking each other with lathis.
Seeing that Bablu hadn’t even lifted a finger to prevent the violence, Saguna refused to go with him.
In a similar case about a week ago, a girl from Chhattisgarh’s Raipur district had decided to abandon her intoxicated groom after taking just four of the seven pheras around the sacred fire.
Urmila was incensed to find that the groom had to be supported through the ritual. In another case at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, a woman refused to wed a man who was accused by a former lover of ditching her. She later married his younger brother.
(Woman’s name changed)