The marriage of a Dalit couple, who recently got permission to take their wedding procession through streets where mainly upper-caste Thakurs live in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj after fighting for months, has now been postponed after villagers claimed the bride was a minor, The Indian Express reported on Friday. The wedding was scheduled for April 20.
Some upper-caste families in the village said that according to the bride’s school records, she would turn 18 on July 5. Although Sheetal’s family claimed she was 20, she still went for a medical test. The family said the initial rounds of the tests were inconclusive. However, they have now decided to postpone the wedding.
“I was feeling very uncomfortable and ashamed about these tests,” Sheetal told The Indian Express. “I do not want to be examined like this. So I have shifted the wedding to another date to avoid any problems with the authorities. I do not want any legal hassles.”
Kasganj Superintendent of Police Piyush Srivastav confirmed that the wedding had been postponed. “But the date is not fixed,” he said. “They have postponed it because the girl is a minor. Police personnel will be deployed in the village for law and order reasons.”
On Sunday, the district administration granted the groom, Sanjay Kumar, permission to take his baraat through a certain route provided no “political persons” participated in the procession, no weapons were on display and no alcohol was allowed.
Sheetal’s family home is on the outskirts of Nizamabad village, as are the homes of four other Jatav families – the caste to which the bride and groom belong. Usually, Jatav grooms stop their wedding processions at a ground outside the village and then walk to the bride’s house without crossing any Thakur areas.
Earlier, both the Thakurs and the district authorities had objected to the procession saying they could not “change the parampara [tradition]”. Kumar had objected to this saying the “Constitution says we are all equal”.