Thakur-dominated Uttar Pradesh village witnesses first-ever Dalit baraat: Sanjay Jatav sought permission 3 months ago

A Dalit groom, who has been struggling for the past six months to take out his wedding procession (baraat) in his village which is Thakur-dominated (upper caste), was finally able to do it on Sunday. Sanjay Jatav, a 27-year-old block development council member of Basai Babas village in Hathras district, became the first Dalit man to take a wedding procession through Nizampur village and described his experience as "Today, I have become a cabinet minister." It was the first such wedding procession by a Dalit in about 80 years in this village.

"This is the 21st Century but some don’t think Dalits should have dignity. I am the first to take a ‘baraat’ (wedding procession) out in this village. It is only because of Babasaheb and his Constitution that it has been possible," Jatav was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. To assist him in this endeavour were at least 10 police inspectors, 22 sub-inspectors, 35 head constables, 100 constables and a platoon of the state provincial armed constabulary, reports have said. Jatav, a local worker with the Bahujan Samaj Party, drove from his village, about 20 kilometres away, in a convoy of 30 cars, a police pilot vehicle and an armed security guard. Outside the village, press, senior police and administration officers and political leaders cutting across party lines welcomed the groom.

Jatav had approached the district administration three months ago seeking permission to parade his baraat through the village, which was denied after the Thakur community objected but Jatav refused to back down, appealing to the district magistrate, the superintendent of police, the Allahabad high court and even the chief minister’s office.

Speaking to ANI on Sunday, Additional SP Pavitra Mohan Tripathi said, "There was no problem when the procession was being carried out. We (have) deployed sufficient force till the wedding ends. Our personnel will be alert in the village even after the wedding so that any unforeseen situation can be avoided."

Dalit groom Sanjay Jatav. Twitter/@dhrubo127

Dalit groom Sanjay Jatav. Twitter/@dhrubo127

However, both sides later signed a letter, which spelled out the baraat route. According to The Indian Express, the letter said, "no political or apolitical party will be part of the baraat because of who peace can be broken/no persons in the baraat will carry weapons or arms or consume any alcoholic substances/no one will use any loud instruments or make objectionable speeches or words… all people will maintain peace when the wedding is on."

Speaking to media on the occasion, District Magistrate of Kasganj RP Singh said, "We have made tight security arrangements and even if someone wants to create trouble, it wouldn't be possible for them to do that." Dalits comprise around a fifth of Uttar Pradesh's population and Jatavs are the largest Dalit group. The Thakurs make up 70 percent of Nizampur's population while the Dalits account for only 10 percent and live on the periphery of the village, reports have said.


Updated Date: Jul 16, 2018 10:15 AM

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