Inter-caste marriage prompts attacks on Dalits in Haryana village
Agitated over a Dalit man marrying an upper-caste woman, an angry mob attacked Dalit families in a small village in Haryana, forcing many of them to flee.
As politicians celebrated BR Ambedkar's 122nd birth anniversary last weekend, more than 200 Dalits migrated from Pabnawa village in Haryana's Kaithal district, as a mob comprising of upper-caste men attacked their houses, angry that a Dalit man dared to marry a girl from their community.
Suryakant, a Dalit and Meena, from a upper caste community called Ror eloped and married on 10 April. Both final year students at the Kaithal college, they were in a relationship for around two years. The couple, currently at a shelter home, sought police protection from the Haryana and Punjab High Court before tying the knot.
However, in retaliation around 400-500 men allegedly belonging to the Ror community attacked Dalit houses in the village last weekend.
The men allegedly harassed and molested the Dalit women and girls. Their houses, vehicles were damaged and jewellery, cash stolen.
Seven cops, along with a deputy superintendent of police were also injured in the attack.
Several Dalit families have moved to their relatives' place or are living in dharamsalas.
"We agree that the marriage was against social norms. But why is the family of the groom and the entire community being targeted as we have no role in their marriage?" Ram Swaroop, one of the victim was quoted as saying in a Times of India report.
Some of the victims also alleged that the district administration was hand-in-glove with the Ror community.
"It was a planned attack. Since the MLA from Pundri belongs to the Ror community, these people keep throwing their weight on us. Suryakant was previously also assaulted on a couple of occasions. Now, they are threatening us that they will not let us live in this village," Karam Singh, another victim, told the Indian Express.
After the attack, around 500 police personnel have been deployed in the village to maintain law and order.
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