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Two men made to testify bride's virginity

BLOOD TEST: Coded questions replace ‘Sheet display’ among Kanjarbhats

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Two men made to testify bride's virginity
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Two instances of forced virginity test for brides in the nomadic Kanjarbhat community have come to the fore in Pune. Activist Krishna Indrekar alerted the authorities of two cases from Koregaon Park that took place last week. One of the women is related to a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) worker, while the groom is related to a retired court superintendent from Nandurbar.

The day after the wedding, the caste panchayat asked the groom whether he 'had any difficulty crossing the seven wells' which is code for whether his bride was a virgin. The other groom was questioned whether the 'maal' (goods) was 'khara' (pure) or 'khota' (impure). Only after the grooms publicly confirmed that their brides were virgins were the women accepted by the community.

Earlier, the practice was even more shameful: newly-married couples would hang their blood-stained bed sheets in full view of the community as proof. The community elders would then bless the marriage.

After the Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti denounced the practice and brought down authorities, new, covert methods were adopted.

"Recently, after a mass wedding at Ichalkaranji, four couples were subjected to the test," says Indrekar, "In the Koregaon Park cases, the couples came from powerful backgrounds and were well-educated."

Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti has taken the lead to oppose the nefarious practice. They have been encouraging women, subjected to this test, to raise their voice against it.

"Until then, this practice will go on unabated," says Nandini Jadhav of Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti. Activists also blame the government and police's lax response to complaints about this practice for its continuance.

URBAN RITUAL

  • Two cases reported from Pune’s tony Koregaon Park area in the past week
     
  • In one case, bride was related to an NCP worker; groom related to court superintendent
     
  • Panchayat asked groom whether he faced any difficulty ‘while crossing the seven wells’
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