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Operation Samanta: Bundi Police’s Initiative To Break Social Taboos Enforced On Dalits

Operation Samanta is an initiative of the police department of Bundi district in Rajasthan to ensure social equality and justice for Dalits Under the initiative, the police facilitated the first-ever mare riding of a Dalit groom of Chadi village The DM and SP were themselves present in the wedding to see that everything goes well
Indian Masterminds Stories

With casteism embedded in the social fabric of the state of Rajasthan from the days of yore, news about attacks on Dalit wedding processions, where the groom rode a horse, are frequently heard. The attacks arise from the social taboo practised still by some sections who believe that a Dalit groom cannot come on a horse in a baraat (wedding procession). If any groom tries to defy, his family is attacked.

To put an end to such social evils, the police administration of Bundi started an initiative named Operation Samanta (Operation Equality) in the villages of the district. And, at a recent wedding, they not only encouraged the Dalit groom to ride a mare but were also present on the spot to ensure everything goes well.

Indian Masterminds spoke to Bundi SP, Jay Yadav, IFS, about Operation Samanta and the recent Dalit wedding where the groom rode a mare, defying prejudiced conventions.  

OPERATION SAMANTA

Operation Samanta is an initiative of the police of Bundi District to make people aware about their constitutional and legal rights, and to break taboos enforced on Dalits.

“We have started this initiative as we have seen that in many places, people are not aware about their rights. They think that some wedding customs, like the groom riding a mare, is the right of the upper class people only and, so, they should not follow these rites,” SP Yadav said.

He said that the people of these villages had accepted such conventions as societal laws but “we have to change this thinking because our constitution provides equal law to each and every citizen of India and everyone has the same right to perform their rituals.”

THE PROCESS

A month back, police started surveys in around 30 villages where the weaker sections never took out such wedding processions.

“We identified those villages and found out that at times, two-three incidents took place where they were stopped from following the wedding rites. After the survey, we constituted Equality Committees involving at least two local people from all the communities, police station in-charge, beat constable, patwaris, gram rakshak and police mitras. Everyone is actively involved in Operation Samanta, and they hold regular meetings for the same.”

MAKING PEOPLE AWARE

The Equality Committee members hold meetings in their villages to make people aware about Operation Samanta. They inform people about their constitutional and fundamental rights, and explain the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act and Prevention and Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 to them.

“We make people aware of their rights and make them understand that anyone who indulges in any criminal activity or conduct against them can be booked under these serious sections,” SP Yadav said.  

There was information with the police department that the weaker section people are aware about the laws, but they desist from certain rites as they are afraid of being harassed afterwards.

“So, we are doing a proactive policing kind of thing. First, we talk to the weaker section people and make them aware about their rights, and then, we talk to the whole community.” Mr Yadav informed.

FIRST GROOM RIDING A MARE

The administration came to know about the wedding as they had already identified the Chadi village as part of their village identification process. This was a village where not a single groom had rode a mare in wedding processions.

“We first communicated with the bride’s family as the wedding procession will take place in her village. We convinced her family and then we convinced the groom’s family who then filed an application that they are interested in doing the rites. After that, we convinced all the people of the community, held a meeting, and the wedding took place,” shared SP Yadav.

SP Jay Yadav along with the District Magistrate of Bundi district were present in the wedding and joined the procession.

SP Yadav shared with Indian Masterminds that they noted that people of all communities were happy and welcomed the groom. Girls were taking selfies from roof tops and were enjoying it like a festival.

“I am absolutely sure that from next time it will become a norm and all people will follow these rites, he said.

UPCOMING WEDDINGS

Two to three weddings are going to take place in the month of February and, hence, the Equality Committees of Operation Samanta are conducting their meetings regularly. “Till now we haven’t had any report of protest. The marriages will be conducted with all rites peacefully,” SP Yadav said.  

In conclusion, the officer said that the main objective is to continue Operation Samanta without the police force. “We want that the people themselves should lead this initiative as that’s the only permanent solution. Otherwise, if we use force and allow the procession to take place, it will never become an established norm.”


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