Rajkot: Dalit groom on horse dragged down, beaten

PALANPUR: A 27-year-old man from Dalit community was forcibly alighted from a horse in his wedding procession, subjected to casteist slurs and allegedly beaten up in Saripada village, some 12 km from Palanpur on Sunday. The victim Aakash Kotiya (Parmar), an army jawan, and others were on way to Sundha village in the wedding procession.
Police have booked 11 people under Prevention of Atrocities Against SCs & STs Act following a complaint lodged by Aakash’s granduncle Khema Kotiya.

According to the complaint, the accused on Sunday went to Kotiya’s house on learning that they were planning to take out Aakash’s marriage procession on a horse. After hurling casteist slurs at them, they allegedly threatened to shoot the groom if he went on a horse. “They told us that we had to take birth as upper caste people if we wanted to ride a horse. I pleaded with them that Aakash is an orphan and they allow the marriage procession to pass off peacefully, but they did not budge from their stand,” Khema told Gadh police in the complaint.
The victim family then called up the police control room to seek protection for the procession. However, when the procession reached a local dairy, the group of accused persons came there and dragged down Aakash from the horse. They allegedly even snatched his sword and then started thrashing him.

In the meantime, other accused resorted to stone pelting on the procession members a man named Hira Sekhaliya, a resident of Saambhi and woman Kusum Parmar of Ankodi were injured severely. Stones also damaged the DJ sound system, besides hurting a few other women who were playing garba in the venue, he said.

Dalpat Bhatia, president of Dalit Samaj of Banaskantha district, who helped the family lodged a complaint, said that the wedding celebrations were subjected to objections from day one.
Ranveer Bhatia, a Dalit activist said that they had to seek police protection apprehending further fracas on the wedding route besides harm on the baraatis after the upper caste people had already warned them not to take the procession through a particular street in the village.
Police arrangement has been tightened in the village, he added.
Those booked were Senji Koli, Shivji Koli, Dipakji Koli, Tusharji Koli, Bhavanji Koli, Jituji Koli, Vinodji Koli, Ramaji Koli, Dipakji Ishwarji Koli, Baibaben Koli and Manjuben Koli. They are all residents of Saripada village.

This story first appeared on  timesofindia.indiatime

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