UP village sees first ever Dalit Baraat in Thakur dominion

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.

Image: Burhaan Kinu/HT Photo

Varanasi: Sanjay Jatav underestimated the response to his plea to take his wedding procession through ‘upper caste’ Thakur dominated routes. The administration fortified the area around his bride’s village, deploying 10 police inspectors, 22 sub-inspectors, 35 head constables, 100 constables and a platoon of the state provincial armed constabulary.
A 27-year-old block development council member of Basai Babas village in Hathras district, Jatav became the first Dalit man to take a wedding procession through Nizampur village in 80 years. “I feel like a cabinet minister,” he exclaimed as the procession accompanied by music, dancing and revelry took momentum.
Wearing a blue suit, Jatav married his love Sheetal Kumari on Sunday. Matching him in his bravery, Kumari told the media why they were risking retribution in a village where Dalits are outnumbered 1:10. “We want our fair share of rights. India is a free country and the Constitution gives everyone equal rights,” she 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,” reported Firstpost.
“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,” a report by Hindustan Times said.
“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 told the media.
The Indian Express had reported in April that both parties had compromised upon a mutually acceptable route. “Both sides have signed the letter, which spells out the route the baraat is to take through the village — as Sanjay had wanted —  also says “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.”
“Despite the successful wedding, the fight for the Dalit families may not have ended as hostilities continue to simmer. “Not one Thakur in the village will attend this wedding,” said Rupender Chauhan, a village resident. “Repercussions will follow, if not in two days then in two years.” The HT report added.
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 form around a fifth of Uttar Pradesh’ population and Jatavs are the largest Dalit group. The Thakurs make up 70 per cent of Nizampur’s population while the Dalits account for only 10 per cent and live on the periphery of the village.



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