Mahidpur tehsil officials in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district have asked panchayats to inform the police of any weddings involving members of the Dalit community three days before the event to prevent “any untoward incidents”, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. Officials cited a clash between Dalits and upper castes members after the latter forced a Dalit groom to get off a horse.

Mahidpur Sub-divisional Magistrate Jagdish Gome issued a notice asking sarpanches and panchayat secretaries to give the local police a prior notice. “It’s a precautionary measure,” Gome told the English daily. “We want to avoid any untoward incident. After a case of atrocity is reported, it is difficult to get evidence because the accused deny everything and come up with a different explanation. It becomes difficult to probe such cases. It’s better that police remain present during marriage processions.’’

The circular would also apply to marriages among Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, Gome said. The sub-divisional magistrate added that the presence of police would also deter child marriages.