A Dalit groom was restrained from riding a horse and his wedding procession was showered with stones in Banaskantha district, leading the police to file a case against 28 people, including a village sarpanch (gram panchayat head), officials said on Tuesday. One person was injured in stone pelting.
While the incident took place at Mota village under Palanpur taluka of the district on Monday, an FIR for unlawful assembly (IPC section 143), criminal intimidation (506) and under various sections of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act was registered at the Gadh police station a day later.
When the wedding procession passed through the village, some unknown people threw two to three stones, injuring one of the relatives of the groom. An FIR was registered and the case was handed over to the DySP of SC/ST cell, no one has been arrested yet. The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint submitted by Virabhai Sekhalia, who had arranged his younger son Atul’s marriage on February 7 with a girl from a nearby village.
However, when village sarpanch Bharatsinh Rajput, who is among those charged, and some other prominent residents of Mota learnt that Atul Sekhalia will ride a horse during his wedding procession, they called the groom’s father and asked him to drop the idea or be ready to face consequences, the complaint read.
When the Sekhalia family remained firm on the decision, the sarpanch called a meeting of villagers on Sunday. In the meeting, Rajput and 27 others publicly asked the groom’s family and people from the SC community not to sit on a horse during the marriage procession “because that has been the tradition since centuries”, Sekhalia alleged in his complaint.
The accused threatened the family with consequences if their orders were not followed, the complainant said. To avoid any altercation over the issue, the Sekhalia family eventually dropped the idea of the groom riding a horse, but the complainant sought police protection to take out the wedding procession. When the procession commenced under police protection and reached near a milk shop on Monday morning, some of the accused raised an objection over members of the marriage party wearing ‘safas’ (turbans), according to the complaint, and started throwing stones at the procession