The village, nearly 110 km from Jaipur, is home to about 50 Dalit households, and no one has ever ridden a horse on their wedding.
Given some recent incidents in the state in which tension was trigged after Dalit grooms were prevented from riding horses, the district administration and the local police had made elaborate security arrangements for Anil’s wedding.
“We deputed nearly 20 policemen at the bridegroom’s house prior to the wedding. When his nikasi (a ritual before the wedding) procession was taken out in the village on Thursday , there were nearly 125 policemen for security,” said a senior police officer.
Anil rode the horse from his house to the village temple where prayers were offered. The bridegroom then left for nearby Jahidpura village where he tied the knot with a girl named Manisha.
“No bridegroom in the village has ever ridden a horse on his wedding in Pathredi village. People from upper caste don’t like it, so there was no point in creating unnecessary tension. But Anil expressed his desire to ride a horse following which it was planned for the first time,” said Dayaram Raiger, a local resident.
An NGO, Dr Ambedkar Vichar Manch Samiti, came forward to help Anil fulfill his wish. An application demanding security was given to the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM). The district administration then discussed the issue with people from all communities in the village. The villagers told them that they don’t have any problem with Anil riding a horse.In fact, some villagers from upper castes offered to be present in the wedding procession to ensure that nothing went wrong. However, the administration didn’t want to take any chances, hence made security arrangements.
Dalits being prevented from riding a horse, entering temples and cremating bodies in common funeral centers is quite common in the state’s rural areas. A petition was filed in Rajasthan High Court on May 29 highlighting several such cases.
The petitioner compiled a list of 20 cases in which bridegrooms were refused to take out wedding processions through colonies of upper caste people were reported in 2014 alone. There were two cases of similar nature in 2012, four in 2013 and four in 2015.