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Kasganj: In wedding route truce with Thakurs, Dalit groom gets his way

A Jatav groom won a hard-fought battle to lead his baraat through a route of his choice in a Kasganj village after district authorities brokered a compromise between him and his fiancé’s Thakur neighbours on Sunday.

By: Express News Service | Varanasi |
Updated: April 10, 2018 7:27:58 am
Bride Sheetal with her family. While the Dalits wanted to hold the procession (baraat) through Kasganj village, the dominant Thakurs were against it. (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

A Jatav groom won a hard-fought battle to lead his baraat through a route of his choice in a Kasganj village after district authorities brokered a compromise between him and his fiancé’s Thakur neighbours on Sunday.

The wedding procession had become an issue of “honour” in Nizampur village, with neither side willing to back down. Sanjay Kumar Jatav, a 27-year-old block development council member, had been trying to get permission to lead a grand wedding procession through lanes flanked by upper caste Thakur houses. He had even moved the Allahabad High Court, calling it a matter of “sammaan” (respect) and equality. His petition, however, had been dismissed.

The letter, which specifies the route the wedding procession is to take through the village, as Kumar had wanted, also says, “no political or apolitical party will be part of the baraat because of whom peace can be broken/no persons in the baraat will carry weapons or arms or consume any alcoholic substances/no one will make objectionable speeches or words.all people will maintain peace before and during the wedding.”

A map showing the route the baraat will take through Thakur-dominated villages in Kasganj.

Kasganj District Magistrate R P Singh and senior police officers had called a meeting on Sunday evening, where the pact was signed. The meeting was attended by Thakur families, Kumar and the family of his fiancé Sheetal, which lives in Nizampur. Jatav had rejected two sets of maps with routes bypassing Thakur houses that the police had earlier drawn for his baraat.

District police have clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC in the village and sent in a team to maintain law and order. The 40 Thakur families and five Jatav families in the village were asked to sign the affidavit, which says they will not indulge in any violence or fight and will maintain peace. “We asked both parties to sign and pledge that they will not indulge in any form of violence. Section 144 has been imposed to ensure no one makes any communal or inflammatory remarks or speeches,” Singh said.

Also read‘Am I not a Hindu? Don’t I have same Constitution?’ asks UP Dalit groom

Kumar, who belongs to Basai Babas village in Hathras district of western Uttar Pradesh, had moved the Allahabad High Court on March 16, seeking an intervention on the issue when his letters to the district police, authorities and even Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath yielded no results over the past two months.

“Am I not a Hindu? When the Constitution says we are all equal, and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath says we are all Hindus…why am I facing such a situation?” he had asked. However, the court had dismissed Kumar’s writ petition, directing him to approach the police or a magistrate to resolve the issue. “I am satisfied and happy. This is a victory. I had wanted to have a wedding like anyone else does. I do not know how the authorities agreed but I am happy,” said Kumar on Monday.

Thakur residents of the village refused to comment on the development. Village head Kanti Devi said, “We have no problem, the issue is resolved.” The wedding is scheduled for April 20. However, police are arranging for a test to confirm Sheetal is not underage after Thakur residents submitted her date of birth and other related details recorded on her Class V mark sheet, which allegedly show that she would turn 18 on July 5.

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