Police force was deployed in the Ghugahiya village in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district on Tuesday, 7 February, after higher caste villagers threatened to obstruct a Dalit family's wedding procession.
The wedding took place in the presence of 27 police officers who patrolled the area while drones kept a watch from above.
Why the threat? The bride's parents, Rishipal Valmiki and Sheela Devi, had bought a Royal Enfield motorcycle to give as a gift to the newly-weds. The Yadavs in the village took it as an affront to their pride and threatened to obstruct the wedding procession.
Yadavs, who are categorised as Other Backward Class (OBC), are numerically and socially dominant at the village level.
Sheela Devi approached the police: The bride's mother, Sheela Devi, filed a complaint with the police against the villagers for creating obstacles in her 20-year-old daughter Kavita's wedding.
The bride's family is the only Valmiki family in the village. Valmikis are categorised as Scheduled Caste (SC).
The wedding took place without any untoward incident. Sheela Devi told mediapersons after the wedding,
"I am very happy today. The wedding procession reached my house peacefully, without any incident. I am grateful to media, police and the villagers."
Sambhal Superintendent of Police, Chakresh Mishra, told R20 News that they took every precaution for the safety of the procession.
"We had received a complaint yesterday from village Ghugahiya in which a person from the Valmiki community had alleged that some people in their village are threatening to obstruct their daughter's wedding procession. We went to the village to investigate the matter. The people who had threatened to obstruct the procession, denied the allegation and we didn't find any other sign that the procession was being obstructed. Yet, we deployed police force in the area so that everything goes smoothly. There was no untoward incident in the wedding."– Chakresh Mishra
Similar incident in November 2022: In a similar incident in November 2022, police force had to be deployed in the Sambhal district's Lohamai village after the higher castes took objection to the groom wanting to ride on a horse during the wedding procession.
In that case too, the bride's family belonged to the Valmiki community.