Ten people have been arrested for allegedly pelting a Dalit wedding procession with stones in Jaipur district, said police on Friday.
According to police, the incident took place late on Thursday night, when the wedding procession of a Dalit groom, who was riding a mare had reached the bride’s house in Kairodi village of Pawta in Jaipur district.
The bride’s family members said that stone pelting took place despite the presence of police who were deployed to provide protection.
“It is not common in our village for Dalits to ride mare during wedding procession. I wanted to break this tradition of discrimination. Both my daughter and son are getting married this month. People from the Rajput community in our village often say that they won’t let us ride the mare. I suspected that there might be opposition and had submitted applications to the police and district administration requesting protection,” said Haripal Balai, the bride’s father.
Balai added that police officials and local politicians had even visited him on Thursday morning and had assured that no untoward incident would take place.
“I remember one occasion some forty years back when I was a child, wherein stones were pelted on a procession of Dalits. I saw history repeat once again yesterday evening when despite the presence of police personnel, stones were pelted when my son-in-law reached the gate of our house riding the mare. There was a shower of stones. Some 10-15 people from our families got hit. My nephew had to get stitches. Those who pelted stones are from the Rajput community and most are my neighbours,” Balai told The Indian Express on Friday.
He added that the attackers pelted stones taking cover behind bushes before running away.
“The stones were pelted because they couldn’t tolerate Dalits riding mares,” said Balai, who is in his late fifties.
Police said 10 people have been arrested.
“We have arrested 10 people who are from the Rajput community. We had deployed 75 police personnel at the spot. The attack was sudden and lasted only seconds with the attackers using the bush and trees as cover. Three people have been injured. The family has filed an FIR naming 18 people. Of the 10 arrested, six are those who were named while the involvement of others was revealed in our investigation,” said Dinesh Kumar Yadav, circle officer, Kotputli.
He added that an FIR has been registered under IPC sections 323(punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341(punishment for wrongful restraint) along with sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Dalit outfits have said that they will reach the village in solidarity on November 28, when Balai’s son is set to be married.
“The Bhim Army will visit the family on November 28 to be part of the wedding and in their support. Recently there have been several incidents wherein owing to a feudal mentality of caste discrimination, several Dalit wedding processions have been attacked because of the groom riding mare. We will protest if strong action is not taken against the accused,” warned Anil Dhenwal, Rajasthan president of the Azad Samaj Party and former state president of the Bhim Army.
Later on Friday, the police took action against three officials over the incident. Jaipur Rural SP Manish Agarwal said that three police officials — additional SP Kotputli, CO Kotputli and SHO Pragpura police station — were put on awaiting posting orders (APO).