In a shocking instance of caste discrimination in the capital, a dalit groom was dragged down from his buggy by two upper caste men barely 200 metres from the wedding venue in Maidangarhi, south Delhi, on Thursday night.
The two upper caste men – brothers who were drunk at the time – have been arrested under the SC/ST Act. The two are alleged to have made derogatory remarks against dalits and said that the groom, Sumit Singh, was not qualified to sit on a buggy.
Maidangarhi, close to the plush Sainik Farms locality, is an urban village dominated by the Jat community. “Such an incident has happened here for the first time. Shockingly, the upper caste residents of the village aren’t even apologetic,” said Radhey Shyam, grandfather of the bride, Shanta.
The procession reached near the community centre, which is hardly used, around 10pm. Sumit got into the buggy from his car to go towards Shanta’s house. “Dharmendra and Jitender came out of nowhere and started abusing the groom. They then dragged him to the ground and roughed him up,” said Nanak Chand, Shanta’s father. “Pehle yahan ke naale saaf karo tabhi tu shaadi karega (first clean the drains and only then can you marry),” is what one of the brothers allegedly said to Sumit.
The girl’s family had to not only fight off the aggressors but also pacify Sumit’s family, as shortly after this, they refused to allow the marriage. “For them, it was about their honour. Even the thought of them returning is agonizing. My son beseeched with them to stay,” said the septuagenarian Shyam.
The girl’s family has alleged that despite several calls to Mehrauli police station, the cops remained unavailable and a formal complaint could only be registered after four hours. They further alleged that the PCR van refused to register a complaint saying it is the beat constable’s responsibility to inform the police station in such a situation. “The cops dilly-dallied. They even pressured us to compromise,” said Roshanlal, bride’s uncle and a PWD worker at the Vasant Kunj police station (north). Since he had been working with cops, he knew how to go file a complaint and insisted the cops give the suggestion for a compromise in writing.
A case has now been registered under Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes Act. “A case has been registered under Section 341/323/34 and both the brothers have been arrested,” said a senior cop at the Mehrauli police station.
The wedding was solemnized in the presence of police. Instead of taking the pheras at 12.30am, the couple did it at 3.30am. The dalits staying in about 50 houses are anxious as the area is still tense. Kishan has decided to drop his daughter to a nearby school himself. He fears an attempt to settle scores with the community. “Women are the first to be tortured in such cases. We heard that the Radhey Shyam’s family was warned of reprisal.” [Times of India]