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Dalit marriage procession disrupted by upper caste villagers at Dehgam

In what is being seen as an open caste-based discrimination,a group of upper caste people allegedly pelted stones at a marriage party of a Dalit family.

Ahmedabad | Published: February 16, 2009 12:44 am

In what is being seen as an open caste-based discrimination,a group of upper caste people allegedly pelted stones at a marriage party of a Dalit family. In the process,a pipeline was broken and water spilled all along Khakhra in Dehgam taluka of Gandhinagar on Sunday.

The incident occurred even though the family took out the marriage procession under police protection,as they were apprehending the attack.

The Gandhinagar police have registered a case under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Five persons have been named,including the sarpanch and deputy sarpanch of the village,and three have been arrested.

The accused are Ramsinh Zala,Madhusinh Zala,Sardarsinh Zala,Balwantsinh Zala and Bharatsinh Zala,all residents of Khakhra village. Ramsinh is the sarpanch and Madhusinh is the deputy sarpanch.

The complaint was lodged by Babu Parmar,a native of Khakhra village and father of the groom. Parmar works in a textile company in the Rakhial area of Ahmedabad city. The Rakhial police said the village consists of around 1,000 people,mostly from Thakor community,while the number of Dalit families hardly touches five. The Thakors have warned the Dalits against taking out marriage procession in the village with bandwagon.

Parmar had sought police protection as last year also the Thakors had attacked the marriage procession of his nephew. A police point was set up at the village to prevent any untoward incident on Saturday along with a heavy police bandobast.

“With the intervention of the police on Saturday night,people from the two communities had discussed the issue. Thakors were ready to let Dalits take out the procession,” said Sub-Inspector N G Vaghela. “However,on Sunday,somehow the Thakors broke the water pipeline on the way of the procession,” he added.

Parmar told Newsline: “Even after police protection,they (Thakors) pelted stones at us and damaged the water pipeline on the road to harass us. One can imagine what would have been the situation had the police not been there… With a very thin population,we are a worried lot.”

District Superintendent of Police Piyush Patel could not be contacted but DySP B H Gameti,who is investigating the case,denied any stone pelting in the village.

Gujarat pulled up for acquittals in Dalit atrocity cases

New Delhi: The Centre,on Saturday,pulled up the governments of Kerala and Gujarat,led by CPM and BJP respectively,for the highest rate of acquittals in the cases of atrocities against Dalits. Representatives of the Kerala and Gujarat governments were asked to “fix responsibility” at a high-level meeting here headed by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar. “Cases of atrocity against members of scheduled tribes and scheduled castes are very high in Kerala and Gujarat but the rate of convictions are very low in these two states,” Kumar told pressmen.

“I have asked the authorities to take up 25 most heinous cases (of atrocity against SC and ST) from the cases registered in the last decade and ensure punishment of perpetrators to set an example,” she added,noting that pendency of cases was also very high in the two states.

Citing reasons for the poor performance of the Kerala and Gujarat governments,Kumar said: “Exclusive special courts to take up cases registered under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act are yet to be set up in these two states.”

Kumar said her ministry has already asked all state governments to review cases registered under the said Act and take suitable action by fixing responsibility of the authorities where accused are acquitted due to lapses.

—PTI

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