A young Dalit (“Untouchable”) man in Maharashtra, India, was stabbed in the eyes by his new wife’s family. They were angry because he had eloped with his girlfriend, who was from an upper caste. The January 9 edition of the Indian newspaper, Daily News & Analysis, reported the brutal attack.
Police arrested six of the girl’s relatives and are looking for six others thought to be involved. A friend of the groom was also beaten during the attack. Indian marriages are often arranged by the families of the bride and groom. Marrying outside one’s caste is still considered a social taboo in much of the country.
In the attack, the alleged assailants kidnapped the groom and his friend, took the men to a different city, then gagged and beat them throughout the night. They also stabbed him in the eyes. The injured men reported that when they passed out, the assailants splashed water on their faces to wake them up so they could beat them again.
After the assaults, the relatives took the injured men to the hospital, but warned the groom’s family not to report the crime. The police found out about the violence and are pursuing charges against the perpetrators.
Caste-based discrimination was outlawed almost 50 years ago by the Indian government. There is also a law, known as the Atrocities on Scheduled Caste Prevention Act, which offers legal recourse against those who resort to this type of violence. Yet, there are still frequent reports in the Indian media of young men and women who suffer severe consequences for marrying outside their own caste. At the very least, they are ostracized and cut off from their families. Some lose their jobs. Others are attacked and beaten. Many are killed.
Gospel for Asia missionaries are reaching out to the Dalits with the message that Jesus loves them, regardless of their social status. GFA missionaries have been sharing the love of Jesus in Maharashtra since 1990.
GFA leaders in India ask for prayer for the Dalits, that they would come to know the love of Christ.