Source: The Uncivilised Indian
The Kanjarbhat inhabitants hail from Maharashtra, India. They impose an obligatory practice, which is a virginity test for females before they get wedded.
The veterans from this community to this day still think this custom is fair and support it by saying it is a 400-year-old ritual.
Within the Kanjarbhat district, most members observe the practice of a virginity test, where a newly-wed lady has to prove that she is a virgin.
When a bride experiences the virginity test, she accompanies her husband to separate accommodation and is presented a white bedsheet.
The two is assigned a particular amount of time to consummate their mating. This could be a night time or sometime in the day.
Next, the groom must present the bedsheet to members of the ‘panchayat’ (the community’s council).
If the bride did not bleed during copulation, she is considered to have involved in premarital affinity. The bride is then questioned and even punished.
It was determined to be a questionable practice as brides are being compelled to testify that she is a virgin. In the past, some females have also been banished from the community for their opposition.
There have been many cases where the test has been conducted, and the families have not opposed it.
A case where both the couple was highly educated took place in December 2018. The groom had even secured an educational degree in the UK.
This couple was wedded in Koregaon Park in Pune. After the celebration, the groom was made to carry out the virginity test with his newly married wife by the Panchayat who assembled.
The panchayat was sitting outside and waiting, while the couple was locked inside a room alone to carry the practice of the test.
The groom was then ordered to reveal the results of the virginity test to the panchayat after their mating in the room.
Of course, not everybody is happy with this centuries-old tradition, which was even carried in the west at one time, among higher social classes and royals.
There has been a drive of gradual opposition from within the district with cases being highlighted of females and families not wanting to do the virginity test.
A case in February 2019, escorted the family from the Kanjarbhat town in Pune, Maharashtra, sending an appeal to local police for security, stating that their daughter will not do the virginity test.
The family of the bride submitted the paper with the concern that some people from the community would create problems at the wedding.
Senior police officer Satish Mane of Wakad station reacted to the family’s appeal saying:
“Family members of the bride fear backlash by people against their traditions."
“They have approached us seeking protection for the wedding.”
“We have decided to provide two police constables, or more if needed, for protection at the marriage hall, as it comes under our jurisdiction.”
The marriage took place on Thursday, February 14, 2019, without any members of the Kanjarbhat district creating issues.
Source: Times of India
In addition to families opposing the test, protests are appearing from activist organizations like ‘Stop the V-Ritual’ who reject the practice and are striving to get it ended.
Siddhant Indrekar, a member of the organization, stated:
“We never oppose any wedding; we only oppose the virginity test.”
“Police should put female constables to monitor illicit activities like virginity tests and the subsequent collection of money by those who judge them."
“They should be charged for extortion.”
The NCW, National Commission for Women called the custom retrogressive, misogynistic and in breach of fundamental human rights and dignity.
Activists have demurred against the virginity test, and it has led to brutality in the past. Members of the society who promote the test have assailed protestors.
The family presented an appeal for concern that they may be constrained to violence.
NCW chairwoman Rekha Sharma asked Maharashtra’s women and child welfare minister Pankaja Gopinath Munde to look into the subject.
Source: The Indian Express
Sharma described the matter is a grave concern, mainly as there have been two cases of enforced virginity tests for brides.
“The practice is regressive, misogynistic and in violation of basic human rights and dignity.”
“I, therefore, urge your kind intervention in the matter and request that you may please ensure that the persons guilty or perpetrating such discriminatory, misogynistic practices may be appropriately punished so as to prevent such occurrences in the future.”
Sharma continued: “I would also request that any action taken in the matter may be intimated to the commission.”
Ranjit Patil, minister of state for home affairs, Maharashtra, met the protestors. They have declared that the virginity test will shortly be a punishable offense.
Although this announcement will improve things, it is plausible that the tradition will continue within the confines of Kanjarbhat district and panchayats.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it is a conservative practice that leads to violation of fundamental human right?