Despite Government Scheme, Inter-Caste Marriages Far From ‘Normal’
To encourage inter-caste marriages, a government scheme promises Rs 2.5 Lakh to the couple.
When Sakshi Mishra, the daughter of BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra, got married to a man from the Dalit community, she had alleged threat to life by her own father.
However, this is not something new in India where couples from inter-caste marriages face similar threats.
This comes after the government has tried to promote inter-caste marriages through a scheme.
Dr Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to cater to this cause.
What Does the Scheme Say?
The scheme aims at eradicating casteism in India. It believes that the inter-caste marriages are a way out from casteism, untouchability and will bring freedom, equality and harmony.
The scheme, which came into effect from 1 April 2015, says that the Centre and state governments should lend a helping hand in inter-caste weddings. From year 2013-2014 it was kept as a pilot project under the Uttar Pradesh government.
For this scheme, one has to apply to MP, MLA and magistrate.
Instructions for State Government
- Couples facing problems for marrying a person from an oppressed or different caste will be supported by the state government.
- State government should encourage and help with inter-caste marriages and should initiate campaigns for communal harmony in the society.
- Financial help should be given to couples in inter-caste marriage and should be encouraged.
- Events should be held for such marriages and should be be carried by the local media.
Scheme’s Provision to Provide Rs 2.5 Lakh
The scheme on Ambedkar Foundation's website states that while getting married, the couple will be given Rs 25,000. After the wedding, a provision of giving Rs 2.5 lakh is also mentioned under the scheme.
Under the scheme, the inter-caste married couple will get Rs 1.5 lakh out of the 2.5 lakh right after the wedding. The rest of the amount will be deposited in the Ambedkar Foundation which will be given to the couple three years after the wedding.
Has Government Forgotten the Scheme?
With the country witnessing multiple cases of honour killing, it seems like the Centre and state governments have forgotten about the scheme altogether. Politicians don't talk about the issue and maintain a distance from the scheme for the sake of vote bank.
Inter-Caste Marriage and Honour Killing
Although it's 21st century, but cases of killings over inter-caste marriages are still a reality.
In Sakshi Mishra's case, the BJP MLA denied the allegations by his daughter after the news broke in the media. The couple had to go to Allahabad High Court to seek protection, but they were assaulted outside the court.
In a separate incident the same day, another couple who had visited the court was abducted from the court premises.
In Gujarat, few villages in Banaskantha have declared marrying against family's will as a crime.
(This story was originally published in Quint Hindi and has been translated and republished here.)
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