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In India, a Dalit couple's wedding plan highlights social tensions

Dalit people burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs In India, an 'Untouchables' wedding highlights tensions over social change Jason Overdorf, Special to USA TODAY Published 2:59 p.m. ET April 22, 2018 | Updated 2:35 p.m. ET April 27, 2018 Deadly caste protests sweep across IndiaVideo provided by AFP Newslook Members of Dalit organizations shout slogans during a protest in Mumbai, India, on April 2, 2018. Thousands of Dalits, members of Hinduism's lowest caste, protest an order from the country's top court that they say dilutes legal safeguards put in place for their marginalized community. CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN 5 COMMENTEMAILMORE NEW DELHI – If all goes well, Sanjay Jatav will marry Sheetal in July. But armed police could become a large portion of the wedding guests. Jatav and his fiancée, Sheetal — who, like many Indians, does not use a surname — are Dalits, once known as “Untouchables,” the lowest of castes in traditional Hinduism.  Sanjay Jatav, 27, went to the courts to fight for the right to ride a horse in his wedding procession -- something that was traditionally forbidden for members of the castes once known as "untouchables." He reached an agreement with Nizampur's upper caste Thakurs with the mediation of the local authorities. Jatav, 27, a lawyer and member of his village council, is intent on defying tradition and riding a horse in his marriage procession, or baraat, a ritual reserved for higher castes. His battle comes amid a broader mobilization of Dalits tired of being at the bottom of a society that still observes a caste system.  Another Dalit man was murdered for a similar act of defiance. Nationwide protests April 2 over India's civil rights laws resulted in 10 deaths, scores of injuries and hundreds of arrests.   Jatav took his case to court, fighting to hold the wedding the way the couple want.

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