A Dalit groom’s baraat was stoned by upper-caste villagers forcing him to wear a helmet to the marriage venue in Negrun village of Ratlam district late on Sunday.
Arguing that lower-caste grooms were not supposed to ride a horse and take out a procession in the village, upper caste villagers had told the family of Pawan Malviya to abide by their illegal diktat.
The groom’s father had expressed an apprehension that the procession could be stoned and sought police protection.
“The administration had called the two sides for a meeting in which the upper caste villagers agreed to keep their doors closed so that they would be spared the sight of a Dalit groom atop a horse,’’ SDOP R R Bansal told The Indian Express over phone.
Though the upper-caste villagers kept their doors closed, the procession was heavily stoned when it reached the panchayat chowk. More than half a dozen people sustained injuries.
The baraat was stopped for nearly 90 minutes at the chowk. When it started again, the groom’s safa had been replaced by a helmet and police personnel posted on rooftops to thwart more stone pelting.
Bansal said 30 of the 72 villagers against whom an FIR was filed under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were arrested and more arrests were likely by evening.
The police officer said no Dalit groom had taken out such a procession in the village in the past. Several police personnel were deployed at the venue where the marriage took place well past midnight.