Dalit bride’s kin face ‘up­per caste’ ire

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htnation - Deep Mukher­jee deep­tarka.mukher­jee@htlive.com

In July this year, a vil­lage in Pali district of Ra­jasthan saw a Dalit bride ride a mare for the first time ever as part of a cer­e­mony be­fore her mar­riage.

The pro­ces­sion cir­cled the vil­lage amid po­lice pro­tec­tion, fol­low­ing phone calls by up­per caste peo­ple in which her fam­ily was threat­ened of dire con­se­quences un­less they dropped the idea.

“The call­ers threat­ened us say­ing that the cops will be there for only one day. But we didn’t bend and went ahead with the cer­e­mony which was a first in our vil­lage,” said Kalu­ram Megh­wal, the brother of the bride.

Three months later, large pieces of stones have been al­legedly dumped in front of Megh­wal’s house in Guda Dur­jan vil­lage by up­per caste men, par­tially block­ing the en­trance. Megh­wal al­leges that this is a reper­cus­sion of his de­ci­sion to make his sis­ter ride the mare, ig­nor­ing the threats. “On Septem­ber 26, sev­eral Ra­jput men dug a pit on the road in front of the en­trance with a JCB ma­chine. Fol­low­ing that stones were dumped in­side it,” said Megh­wal.

He added that upon con­fronting the men, he was abused with casteist slurs. His brother Ramesh Megh­wal said a tem­ple of Ramdev, a de­ity of the Megh­wal com­mu­nity also falls near the place that has been blocked.

An FIR was lodged at the Khin­wara po­lice sta­tion by mem­bers of the Megh­wal com­mu­nity in which 11 peo­ple have been named, all from the Ra­jput com­mu­nity, said the po­lice.

“We had sub­mit­ted the com­plaint at the po­lice sta­tion on the very next day af­ter the stones were dumped but the FIR wasn’t lodged till Oc­to­ber 3 and we had to stage a dharna,” said Ramesh Megh­wal. The po­lice said none of the ac­cused has been ar­rested so far. “No per­son has been ar­rested till now,” Gu­lab Singh, cir­cle of­fi­cer, Bali, and the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer in the case told HT.

Ac­tivists have slammed the ad­min­is­tra­tion for in­ac­tion and have termed the in­ci­dent as dis­crim­i­na­tory.

“This in­ci­dent is part of a pat­tern in which when­ever peo­ple from the Dalit com­mu­nity try to defy the age-old dis­crim­i­na­tory and feu­dal tra­di­tions, it doesn’t go down well with the so­ci­ety,” said ac­tivist Bhan­war Megh­wan­shi.

He added that the act of dump­ing stones and par­tially block­ing the road is a re­ac­tion to the event of a Dalit bride rid­ing mare.

JAIPUR:

HT PHOTO

Par­tially blocked en­trance to the house of Kalu­ram Megh­wal, the brother of the bride, in Pali.

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