After Long Struggle, Dalit Man Will Be Able to Take His Baraat Through UP Village
New Delhi: A Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj who has been fighting for his right to take out a baraat or procession on his wedding day has finally been successful.
For almost a month now, Sanjay Jatav has been struggling to convince the local administration and ‘upper’ caste population that he cannot be denied permission to carry out the procession – which is a part of most north Indian Hindu weddings – simply because him and his fiancé (Sheetal) are Dalits. While the local administration had earlier denied permission, it changed its mind on Sunday, NDTV reported. The Kasganj administration reportedly convinced Thakurs in the area to allow the baraat to cross their homes. The route that the procession will take has also been negotiated, the channel reported.
“I am very happy this has happened. This is a victory of all of us fighting for equality,” Jatav, a law student, told NDTV.
According to the couple, Thakurs in Sheetal’s village Nizampur had said they would not allow the baraat to cross their homes, saying that a Dalit baraat had never gone through the area. “The Thakurs came here and told us the baraat will not pass through the village.They are telling us it if we go ahead with this, then it will not be good. They say this is our government and no one will listen to you,” Sheetal had alleged.
Sanjay Jatav. Credit: NDTV screengrab
Jatav has spent the last few weeks trying to convince the authorities to intervene and ensure that the baraat can take the route in question. He wrote to UP chief minister Adityanath on his online portal, repeatedly visited police stations and even filed a petition in the Allahabad high court. The court had then told him that only the police could help him. He had then reportedly considered taking the matter to the Supreme Court.
The district administration then seemed to agree with the Thakurs’ explanation on why they would not allow the procession to go past. “In Hindus, marriage is a ritual and not a contract, and we can’t make it a procession – it’s as straight as this,” R.P. Singh, Kasganj’s district magistrate had said. “The local police officer has reported that a procession of this community has never been taken out. So have local intelligence inputs. A new tradition cannot be started.”
Because Section 144 has been imposed in Kasganj, the administration reportedly told the groom’s family to be careful not to say anything that may go against other communities during the event, and asked them to ensure that people whose presence may disturb the peace in the area are not party of the baraat.