Dalit wedding attacked despite police security in Madhya Pradesh, 5 arrested
A group of men attacked a Dalit wedding procession being taken out under police protection in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, senior officers said on Monday, adding that five people were arrested in connection with the incident.
According to the police, the incident took place in Pipalyakalan village of the district on Sunday night.
A member of scheduled caste community, Deepak Meghwal, who sought security for his sister’s wedding, alleged that some members of the Dangi community, an influential OBC caste, had “warned us a few days ago to stop the groom from using horse and playing DJ”. He claimed Dalit grooms are generally not allowed to ride the horse in the village.
“On Sunday night, a group of men threw stones at the wedding venue when the procession arrived from the neighbouring Chhapeda village. They snapped the electric wire to cut the power supply to Dalit basti (locality),” Meghwal told reporters. “The police used teargas shells to disperse the mob and control the situation,” he added.
Rajgarh superintendent of police Pradeep Sharma said the mob also blocked the road leading to the wedding venue by placing stones to prevent the procession from reaching there. “The marriage was conducted under the protection of officials of four police stations at around 3 am.”
Sharma said the tent owner uprooted the tents set up for guests as he sensed trouble. “Later, police assured him of protection and the tents were set up again.”
Acting on a complaint filed by Meghwal, the police registered a first information report (FIR) against 40 people, all members of the Dangi community, an influential Other Backward Class (OBC) community in the district, and arrested five of them, a senior police officer said. The accused have been booked under sections 146 (rioting) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), besides relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the officer added.
The arrested accused were identified as Rameshwar Dangi, Devilal Dangi, Mangilal Dangi, Hemraj Dangi and Mukesh Dangi.
Meanwhile, a member of the Dangi community said: “No one objected to another wedding procession of a Dalit man two days ago.”
“But the groom, Rahul Meghwal, of Chhapeda village was running a social media campaign against the villagers for fake propaganda of discrimination. Villagers felt offended and attacked his wedding procession.”
Rahul Meghwal, however, said he was receiving threats and that is why he sought protection on social media.
Upper castes have been accused of attacking Dalits for owning a horse and taking out wedding processions in defiance of caste rules across the country. Officials have often been forced to provide security to Dalit wedding processions, including in Madhya Pradesh, or draw up alternate routes for them.