Updated: June 1, 2021 5:30:00 am
Days after a groom’s wedding procession was attacked, several families from the Dalit community in an Aligarh village say they are looking to leave the village, accusing people form a minority community of harassing them regularly, especially over wedding processions.
Members of the other community have denied the allegations, and instead accused people in the wedding procession of violating Covid-19 regulations by assembling in huge numbers, and without masks.
The altercation took place at Tappal’s Noorpur village on Thursday. An FIR has been filed accusing some members of the Muslim community for alleged assault and using casteist slurs, while the Dalit members have been booked for alleged violation of Covid protocol.
“We received information five days ago that a scuffle took place during a groom’s procession in Noorpur,” Shiv Pratap Singh, CO, Khair, said. “Prima facie, we found that people from a minority community had asked the other minority section to halt the procession until their prayers were completed. This escalated and someone in the crowd vandalised a vehicle belonging to the groom’s side.”
“The family has also alleged they were beaten up, which is being investigated,” he said.
According to police, the procession was being taken out in a lane opposite a mosque on Thursday. Since the congregation coincided with the afternoon prayers, residents asked the family to halt music by DJ until the prayers were over, according to local residents and police officials.
The groom’s side allegedly refused and an argument ensued.
“It was my daughter’s wedding and as part of the ritual some of us had gone to bring the baraat home,” said Omprakash, a local resident. “We were intercepted by people from the minority community; they objected to the procession. Our community has faced oppression on many occasions — they try and stop our wedding processions. When we tried to reason, they attacked and beat us.”
“It was humiliating to face this one my daughter’s wedding day. I also received injuries,” he said.
Several residents alleged that tired of police and administration inaction, they are forced to consider migration. On Monday, The Indian Express found rows of houses belonging to people from Jatav community having put up messages with blue chalk, stating that their house was for sale. “I put up this sign because we want to leave. The Dalit community has been at the receiving end of insult and assault. We do not feel safe in this village,” one resident said.
The CO said: “The SDM and senior police officers have been in touch with the residents. They have been assured of all possible action. They are cooperating with us. We have also stationed police personnel in the village.”
Noorpur is predominantly a Muslim village, with nearly 800 houses. There are about 100 households from Dalit community.
“We have videos of the procession, showing hundreds of people,” Alam, an eyewitness, said. “When we told them to take precaution, they got aggressive. We also requested them to halt for a few minutes until the azaan was over. They said nothing will stop the procession…This appears to be politically driven since both communities have lived here peacefully.”
The local residents also alleged that most of the people named in the FIR were not even present during the incident.
The FIR has been registered under relevant sections of SC/ST Act against 11 people. It alleged that people from the Muslim community have harassed them during wedding processions in previous instances as well. The Dalit members face an FIR for violation of Covid-19 regulations under the Epidemic Act.
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