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Gujarat: Mob of Over 200 Upper Caste Men Beats up Dalit Couple For Saying BJP Govt Doesn’t Allow Dalit Weddings at Village Temple

The police have registered a case against the victim for ‘promoting enmity between different groups’ and ‘obscenity’.

A Dalit couple was allegedly assaulted by a mob of 200-300 upper caste people at Mahuvad village in Padra taluka of Vadodara, Gujarat on Monday, May 20 because the husband allegedly posted on Facebook that Dalit wedding ceremonies are not permitted at the village temple.

Aishwariya Mohanty writing for Indian Express (IE) reported that police have filed a case against 11 people and the mob. However, the victim has also been charged with promoting enmity between different groups through his Facebook post.

Per the complaint, people armed with sticks, pipes and other weapons went to Mackwana’s house on Monday and shouted abuses at the couple. When Tarulataben Mackwana (46) went out, she was allegedly slapped.

The mob then barged into the house and dragged Pravin, the husband out and beat him up. Tarulataben said the men threatened her husband to delete the post or face the consequences, reports say.

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The incident was reported to the Vadu police by Tarulataben on Thursday, 23 May, as the country handed Narendra Modi a second term. The complaint was filed only after attempts to arrive at a compromise failed between the two communities, per the police.

IE reports that an FIR was registered against the accused for attacking Mackwana’s house, pelting stones, thrashing Pravin and threatening the couple over his Facebook post.

After the complaint was filed, a 24-hour patrolling team was reportedly deployed to the village but no arrests have been made so far.

The 11 people named in the report are— Chaitanyasinh Jhala, Mayursinh Jhala, Mahesh Jadav, Dilipsinh Rajput, Sanjaysinh Parmar, Arjun Parmar, Naresh Parmar, Arvind Parmar, Dilip Parmar, Kishan Parmar, and Ajay Parmar. They all reside in Mahuvad.

Police booked the accused under IPC sections 143 (member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (Punishment for rioting.), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 452 (House trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt.), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation.) and under relevant sections of the SC/ST Prevention of the Atrocities Act.

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The investigating officer in the case, Ravindra Patel, deputy superintendent of police, Vadodara Rural, told IE, “We are recording the statements of the villagers and the eyewitnesses in the case. We are yet to arrest anybody named in the FIR,”

The newspaper reported that police are also trying to ascertain if Parvin’s claim that Dalits are not allowed to use the temple premises for weddings, is true. “So far, no one has spoken about it in the affirmative,” Patel told IE.

Hours after the initial complaint was filed, Secretary-General of Rajput Shakti Yuva Sangathan’s Padra unit Kiran Padhiyar filed a counter complaint against Pravin for putting up the Facebook post. In his complaint Padhiyar alleged that Pravin had tried to cause tension and enmity between two communities by posting the status.

Per the report, Padhiyar said that the May 14 post uploaded by Pravin read, “Your democratic BJP government doesn’t let the premise of Ranchodji temple in Mahuvad village of Padra taluka of Vadodara be rented out to the Dalit community for wedding ceremonies.” In the comment sections, several people had abused the Rajput community, Padhiyar alleged.

After this, the police reportedly also booked Pravin Mackwana under IPC sections 153 1 (a) and (b) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 294 (Obscene acts and songs) and 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust).

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