Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dalits wedding procession baton-charged, cops suspended

Bhopal, March 14 (IANS) Members of a Dalit wedding procession in Madhya Pradesh, including women, children and elderly, were baton-charged by cops who were apparently annoyed by the high volume of the loudspeakers. Three policemen were later suspended.

The incident occurred when the marriage procession (baraat) of Sohan Lal, a resident of Budrakh village in Chhattarpur district, nearly 350 km from here, was heading towards the bride's house, accompanied by a lot of singing and dancing Monday night.

The police Wednesday claimed that members of the wedding party assaulted Superintendent of Police Chanchal Shekhar and Town Inspector Arun Dubey when they were asked to lower the loud speakers' volume. The aggrieved party, however, denied the allegations.

"As soon as the baraat reached the main road, policemen honked to get past the procession but when no one heard them due to the loud speaker, they started hitting them with batons," a witness said.

Said Ramesh Bhaghel, who attended the wedding: "About a dozen people, including the groom, children and elderly people were injured when they attacked the group."

The victims then blocked the Sagar-Kanpur National Highway in protest and agreed to go ahead with the ceremony only when Vijay Katariya, deputy inspector general (Chhatarpur range) and District Collector Ajatshatru reached the spot to pacify them.

Town Inspector Dubey and constables Mukesh and Rajesh were later suspended. "We have suspended the accused policemen and are looking into the matter," Katariya said.

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