A long wait of 80 years ended on Sunday (16 July). This was not a normal wedding procession in Kasganj village of Uttar Pradesh. It was a historic ride on a horse carriage for a Dalit groom.

The 27-year-old Sanjay Jatav, from a Dalit family, fought a legal battle for six months to take his baraat to the bride's house on a horse. The upper caste Thakurs have not allowed such a practice in Kasganj and Dalits were forced to bind by the caste rules set by them.

In 80 years, Sanjay has become the first groom to ride on a horse carriage to his bride Sheetal's house, passing through numerous houses of Thakurs.

After winning a legal battle, his horse carriage was surrounded and led by 10 police inspectors, 22 sub-inspectors, 35 head constables, 100 constables and a platoon of the state's Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).

It can be noted that in the last few months many incidents of Dalit grooms who went for their wedding on horse were beaten up by the upper caste men in UP, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Sanjay, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) worker was seated on a horse carriage, 30 cars following him along with police pilot vehicle and armed security guards.

There was also a DJ cart and residents of the village were seen dancing in front of the carriage.

Hindustan Times reported that even the bride was all set to take the risk and said that Dalits also want to enjoy their share of rights. Constitution has given equal rights to all Indians and it is a free country, she said.

Sanjay's marriage was fixed with Sheetal to be held on April 21. But the bride and groom's desire to come on the horse met with stiff opposition from Thakurs and other upper caste persons of Kasganj.

He decided to wait and asked for permission for baraat from the district administration, which was not accepted.

Then, Sanjay approached the Nizampur’s Superintendent of Police, Allahabad High Court and he had even written to the Chief Minister's office.

With the police forces’ help, Sanjay could pass through the Thakur households and marry Sheetal peacefully.