A Dalit groom was allegedly forced to get down from the horse he was riding as part of a pre-wedding ritual and beaten up by upper caste men at Sadwa village in the district, the police said here on Sunday.

The incident took place two days ago, when Manoj Ahirwar (21) went around the village on horse-back seeking the blessings of village elders, said Chhattarpur’s Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Neeraj Pandey.

As per village “tradition”, only upper-caste grooms are “allowed” to ride on a horse, while lower castes have to go on foot to seek the blessings of elders.

The police said they had arrested seven people identified as Ladle Yadav, Khadia Yadav, Ammu Yadav, Mitthu Yadav, Jaahar Yadav, Ram Singh and Pavrat Pal, while six others, including village headman Khuman Singh, were absconding.

Some persons in the groom’s procession also allegedly made some comments leading to the scuffle, with upper caste men objecting to the “violation” of village “tradition”.