//Dalits face social boycott in Udaipur

Dalits face social boycott in Udaipur

Dalits face social boycott in UdaipurHarsha Kumari Singh

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 (Udaipur):, NDTV.COM

Caste polarisation continued in Udaipur after a Dalit bridegroom was forced to dismount by upper castes because he dared to ride a horse to his wedding.

Two months after the incident, Dalits of Amarpura village are still facing a social boycott for daring to file an FIR on the issue.

The caste divide has deepened further as other Dalits from neighbouring villages have come out in support of the members of their community in Amarpura.

The supporters are also facing opposition and a boycott in their respective villages, but the administration says there is little they can do except to ask the communities to get together and resolve the issue through dialogue.

Protest march

After being denied rations from village shops and water from tubewells, the Dalits were forced to march to Udaipur against the social ostracism they have been facing.

"We continue to be threatened. They say they will attack us, this despite a police presence in the village," said Ramlal, a villager.

"They don't have any transactions with us. We can't buy rations from the kirana store, we can't even buy a bidi or a match-box," said Shyam Lal Meghwal, another villager.

The FIR identified 20 people who attacked the wedding procession and forced the groom to dismount in Amarpura.

But till now only three people have been arrested for atrocities under the SC/ST Act.

"If both sides adopt a confrontationist attitude, then nothing can be done. Elders in the community should come forward for a compromise," said Shikhar Agarwal, Collector, Udaipur.

But the growing caste polarisation in these villages has led to a simmering caste tension in the area.

And unless the administration rectifies the situation at the earliest, it could escalate into a law and order problem in future.