The Banaskantha police in north Gujarat on Tuesday, 8 February, booked 28 persons of Mota village, including the village sarpanch from the upper caste Rajput community, for attacking a Dalit wedding procession after the accused found members of the procession "wearing traditional headgear or safa.”
The accused villagers had earlier also threatened the family of the groom and forbidden him from riding a horse during the wedding, following which the latter had given in for a "peaceful wedding," Deccan Herald reported.
Later, the wedding procession was pelted with stones, leading the police to file a case against 28 persons.
One person was injured in the stone pelting.
The incident took place at Mota village under Palanpur taluka of the district on Monday, following which a First Information Report (FIR) under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 143 (unlawful assembly), 506 (criminal intimidation) and various sections of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered at the Gadh police station, deputy superintendent of police Kushal Oza was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Stating that no one has been arrested, Oza said, "When the wedding procession was passing through the village, some unknown persons hurled two to three stones, injuring one of the relatives of the groom. We have registered an FIR and handed over the probe to the DySP of SC/ST cell."
What Had Happened?
Virabhai Sekhalia had planned his younger son Atul's marriage on 7 February with a girl from a nearby village.
However, when village sarpanch Bharatsinh Rajput, and some other prominent residents of Mota learnt that Atul Sekhalia will ride a horse during his wedding procession, they called the bridegroom's father and asked him to drop the idea or face consequences, the police said, quoting from the complaint, PTI reported.
The sarpanch called a meeting of villagers on Sunday, after the family remained steadfast on the decision.
As per Sekhalia's complaint, Rajput and 27 others publicly told the groom's family in the meeting that people from the Scheduled Caste community cannot sit on a horse during marriage procession "because that has been the tradition since centuries."
The accused persons threatened the family with dire consequences if their command was not followed, Virabhai Sekhalia said in his complaint.
The Sekhalia family then dropped the idea of Atul riding a horse to avoid any altercations, but sought police protection to take out the wedding procession.
On Monday morning, when the procession began under police protection and reached near a milk shop, some of the accused further raised an objection over members of the procession wearing 'safas' (turbans), according to the complaint.
The FIR adds that while some of the accused allegedly hurled casteist remarks, some unidentified people threw stones at the procession.
With the help of police personnel, the procession was able to leave for the bride's village and returned in the evening after the marriage took place.
(With inputs from Deccan Herald and PTI.)