On Sunday, a report in NDTV had claimed that a Dalit marriage procession was disrupted by goons in Guradiya Mata village in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.
As per the report, the incident took place on Saturday. NDTV claimed that the ‘goons’ not only disrupted the marriage procession but also hurled expletives and roughed up the Dalit groom named Deepak. The report added that a complaint was lodged at the Shamgarh police station against 8 people by the victim’s family. A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the police under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 323, 294, 506, 147, 149 and others.
NDTV also emphasised that Mandsaur is the Vidhan Sabha constituency of State Cabinet Minister and BJP MLA Hardeep Singh Dang. Citing the FIR in the case, the news portal pointed out that Deepak was en route his marriage procession when he was stopped by villagers. It further claimed that the accused thrashed the groom and his family members and prevented the procession from moving forward.
Media reports suggest a ‘Bhim army’ angle
However, a report by FalanaDhikana carried a detailed story and shed light on the facts of the case. As per their report, at around 8 pm on Sunday night, the marriage procession of Dalit groom Deepak Meghwal was passing through the road adjacent to the Devnarayan temple. A large group of devotees, predominantly Rajput, were attending a Katha (sermon) at the said temple.
As per the report, Deepak’s marriage procession was accompanied by loud music and DJ, which disrupted the prayer session at the temple premises. The devotees requested Deepak and his family members to lower the music. However, this enraged the drunk goons of ‘Bhim army’ who had deliberately infiltrated the marriage procession. Instead of lowering the music, they began hurling abuses at the devotees and even brandished their swords.
Reportedly, the Bhim army members stopped the procession right outside the temple and kept playing music at a very loud volume. They even played songs and raised loud ‘Jai Bheem’ slogans outside the temple while the Katha was going on. This led to a scuffle between the devotees at the temple and the Dalit ‘Bhim army’ goons. On informing the police, the cops reached the spot and the procession was resumed. However, the Dalit side alleged that the groom was stopped from mounting a horse and filed a complaint against 8 devotees under the Prevention of (Atrocities) Act or SC/ST Act.
No such incident took place earlier
The news outlet Falana Dikhana pointed out that Dalit marriage processions regularly pass in the are and no such incident had been reported in the past. Just 8 days prior to the event, another Dalit groom named Dwarkalal took out a public marriage procession peacefully, without any scuffle with locals or the temple devotees.
When Deepak’s sister got married in March last year, even members of the Rajput community attended the wedding and the ceremony was concluded peacefully. The news portal emphasised that it was the first time that Bhim army goons tried to infiltrate a marriage procession to disrupt the peace and harmony in the area.
Opindia speaks to Shamgarh Police
While speaking to OpIndia, Head Constable (Shamgarh police station) informed that the 8 accused who were named in the FIR have been sent to jail. He added that the police reached the spot after being informed about the scuffle between the Rajput community and the Dalits. The Head Constable told us that the police soon pacified the situation and the procession was resumed.
He informed that while the Dalit community has accused the Rajputs of disrupting the procession, the latter accused the former of playing loud music and deliberately making lewd gestures at women. Highlighting that no such case was reported recently, he pointed out that the wedding procession of another Dalit groom was allowed to pass through peacefully earlier recently. He could not confirm whether Bhim army members were a part of the procession.
NDTV peddles fake news about Dalit boy killed for riding a horse
This is not the first time that NDTV resorted to one-sided reporting. In March 2018, NDTV reported that a 21-year-old Dalit man, Pradeep Rathod, was killed by ‘upper-caste men’ for owning and riding a horse in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. It was alleged by the man’s father that some Rajput men had held a grudge against his son since he purchased a horse about two months back and threatened to kill him if he didn’t sell off the horse.
The story quickly went viral on Twitter. However, the investigation by police has revealed that no evidence was found which proved that he was killed for keeping a horse. In fact, police claimed that he used to harass girls and villagers were angry with his activities and police suspect he may have been killed over that. Police claim that villagers had complained that Rathod used to perform stunts on horse and motorcycle whenever he confronted girls.