Guj Promises Action Over Blocking of Dalit Wedding Processions
Gujarat village tense after Patidars hold yagnas to stop Dalit baraat.
Gujarat village tense after Patidars hold yagnas to stop Dalit baraat.(Photo: ANI Video screenshot)

Guj Promises Action Over Blocking of Dalit Wedding Processions

In the wake of some incidents of Dalit wedding processions being stopped by some groups in parts of Gujarat recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state on Wednesday, 15 May, assured to take stern action against such elements.

The Congress, however, said that such "hollow promises" by the government fails to provide "justice" to the Dalits.

On Sunday, 12 May, police had to resort to a baton charge after members of the Patidar community allegedly stopped a Dalit man’s wedding procession in Aravalli district of Gujarat, and the two sides hurled stones at each other.

In another incident the same day, the wedding procession of a Dalit bridegroom at a village in Sabarkantha district had to be provided police cover after members of the Thakor community objected to the groom offering prayers at a local temple. The procession, however, passed off peacefully, police said.

Also Read : Dalit Man’s Wedding Procession Held Under Police Cover in Gujarat

State Govt Accuses Congress of Creating Rift

Talking to reporters in Gandhinagar, Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, accused the Congress of creating a rift between Dalits and other communities.

Jadeja was referring to an incident in Lhor village in Mehsana, where some local leaders, including the sarpanch, gave a call of social boycott after a Dalit groom took out his procession riding on a horse two weeks ago.

"The Gujarat government is always with the Dalits. They also have the right to take out wedding processions like others. Our government is also concerned about some recent incidents. I want to assure you that stern action will be taken against those who were behind these incidents," Jadeja said.

“Some people are trying to create a rift between communities for their political gains. In Lhor village, we have already arrested five persons, including the sarpanch, for announcing social boycott of Dalits. Notably, the sarpanch is a Congress supporter. Another accused is a local Congress delegate.”
Pradeepsinh Jadeja, Minister of State for Home

Jadeja also urged people from all walks of life to work with the government to establish and preserve social harmony in the society.

Meanwhile, BJP's Dalit MLA and film actor, Hitu Kanodia, appealed to the people to treat everyone equally.

“Though this is the 21st Century, we are still stuck in such issues. This is matter of shame and pain. We all need to change our mindset to establish harmony and a sense of brotherhood. I request all to treat everyone equally.”
Hitu Kanodia, BJP’s Dalit MLA and film actor

Also Read : Dalit Groom Rides Horse in Guj, Community Faces Village Boycott

Opposition Questions BJP’s ‘Hollow Promises’

Slamming the BJP government over this issue, Gujarat Congress in-charge, Rajeev Satav, claimed that the government only gives hollow promises instead of taking action.

“Atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat have increased in recent years. After every incident, the state government gives hollow promises of stern action. However, Dalits never get justice. This government has failed to maintan law and order. The administration is being run through remote control from Delhi. This is the reason why such atrocities are on the rise.”
Rajeev Satav, Gujarat Congress in-charge,

Dalit MLA Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday, 14 May, accused the Gujarat government of being "casteist" and failing to ensure the safety of Dalits after some of their marriage processions were targeted by members of other communities.

He said the Vijay Rupani government in the state was a "mute spectator" while Dalits were facing discrimination. he said.

“A serious situation has arisen in Gujarat where Dalits cannot take out their marriage processions. Chief Minister Rupani has not uttered a single word on the incident. The Rupani government has become a mute spectator of the entire incident. Whatever happens to Dalits, we were going to do nothing, such is the casteist, callous and indifferent attitude of this government.”
Jignesh Mevani, Independent MLA, Gujarat

He said it was Rupani's responsibility to appeal to people to stop behaving in a "hateful manner" against Dalits.

Also Read : Cop Claims Gujarat Dalit Killed for ‘Harassment’, Not Owning Horse

Vaghela Urges for Harmony Among All Castes

NCP leader Shankersinh Vaghela Tuesday condemned recent incidents in Gujarat of Dalit wedding processions being stopped by some groups, saying such discrimination was a blot on Hinduism.

He urged people as well as Hindu seers to take up a campaign to establish harmony among all castes and communities.

"I condemn such acts of not allowing Dalits to take out wedding processions. This is blot on Hinduism. Law alone cannot deal with this. The entire society needs to come together to fight this evil and establish harmony," he said.

"I urge Hindu seers and saints to focus on this issue and spread awareness among the masses in order to end this discrimination of Dalits," Vaghela told reporters here.

He went on to warn that such discrimination would eventually force Dalits to leave Hinduism and convert to other religions.

“Dalits also serve in our armed forces and protect our nation. But, when they visit their villages, they become subjects of discrimination for being a Dalit. People of other castes need to spend one day as a Dalit to understand their pain.”
Shankersinh Vaghela, Former Gujarat CM and NCP Leader

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