NAZAR MOHAMMAD, the father of the bride, called up Farman Saifi, the father of the groom, on Monday night and requested him to downsize the baraat to a dozen people from the initial 200. A last-minute change to the menu — with buffalo biryani struck off and not enough chicken korma and roti to replace it — had forced Nazar to make the embarrassing request.
After policemen allegedly told Nazar not to serve buffalo meat at his daughter Gulistan’s wedding, the 50-year-old carpenter hurriedly arranged for chicken on Monday night. “It has been such an embarrassment. The wedding is ruined and we are very hassled,” Raees, Gulistan’s brother-in-law, said.
Outside, Saifi, who had reached Dadri village by Tuesday noon, said with a slight grimace, “Now I’ll have to throw a walima (reception) for the guests I couldn’t bring with me from Meerut, where we live. That means cost will shoot up and we’ll only have half a day for preparations. We will serve only chicken there as well.”
Gulistan, 18, sat weeping in her room, refusing to speak or eat. “How will you feel if you could not arrange for the only thing the groom’s family demanded at your wedding? And a baraat of only 20 persons. It has broken her heart,” Mehrunissa, Gulistan’s aunt, said. Bawarchis hurriedly baked naans and cooked chicken korma, with guests, fellow villagers and the groom’s family pacing about, eagerly waiting for the 2 pm lunch preceding the niqah. Two policemen dropped by, asking Nazar to come over to the police station because the Circle Officer “had given permission”.
But Nazar refused and said he will drop by later. “What is the use now? It’s all over and done with,” he said, ruing the Rs 6,000 he lost to the local butcher, who had arranged for buffalo meat from Delhi’s Ghazipur mandi over the weekend. “I had not imagined the wedding will turn out like this. Now all I want is my daughter married off and everything done with,” Nazar said, adding that he had suffered a mild heart attack last week.
With money a constraint, Nazar had planned to marry off his son and his daughter within a day of each other to cut down on cost for wedding arrangements. His son married in Haldwani on Monday, and the only fare on the menu at the bride’s place was chicken. Parwez Alam, a Dadri resident, said that immediately after a crackdown was announced on illegal abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh, kachori and sabzi was served at weddings because meat shops, both with and without licences, downed their shutters fearing harassment at the hands of vigilante groups and the police.
Nazar’s relatives had on Sunday approached Dadri police station to keep police in the know that they will be serving buffalo meat at Gulistan’s wedding in Green Park colony, not far from the station. Nazar’s family alleged police had denied them permission, threatening and intimidating them instead.
Noor Mohammad, Nazar’s brother-in-law who visited the police sation on Sunday, alleged, “The Circle Officer had said we can go ahead with wedding preparations because there was no restriction on consumption of buffalo meat. But outside his office, a police officer threatened to overturn the vessels of food and disrupt the wedding if we dared to serve the dish.”
Police denied the charge, saying that they are not required to “grant permission” for “personal consumption” of buffalo meat. “There is no question of granting permission for personal consumption of buffalo meat because it is not banned. We are ensuring that only those with valid licences can sell meat in Dadri. They have not brought to our notice who from the police intimidated them,” Circle Officer Piyush Kumar Singh said.
SHO (Dadri) Sanjay Tyagi said the family’s allegations were baseless and that Nazar was acting out of fear. “Bhay (fear) ka kya kar sakte hain? It’s all in the mind, there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
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