Friday 26 January 2018

What is the Virginity Test men in Pune are trying to stop, and getting beaten up for?

On January 22, three young men were beaten up by a mob of people for trying to find women a respectable standing in society. These three victims belong to the Kanjarbhat community, and are part of a WhatsApp group, called Stop the V Ritual.

This is NOT the first time someone trying to oppose this ritual has faced backlash. On November 25, 2017, one of the members of this WhatsApp group, 21-year-old Siddhant Indrekar, filed a complaint against the caste panchayat at the Vishrantwadi police station. Siddhant claimed he had recorded members of the caste panchayat accepting Rs 10,000 from a bride and a groom to approve their marriage. No action has been taken since, even though he was told that the police would "look into the matter".

So, what is this V ritual that they're trying to stop? And why are they facing such strong opposition?

What is the virginity test?
The letter V in that WhatsApp group stands for Virginity Test. Priyanka Tamaichekar, a Pune resident who is also a part of the group, told Indian Express, "Even today, a virginity test of the bride is conducted in the Kanjarbhat community. The newly married couple is taken to a hotel room. The groom is given a white bedsheet and is asked to use it while having sex. The caste panchayat members actually sit outside the room. If the groom comes out with a bedsheet with blood stains on it, the bride passes the test. But if the bedsheet has no blood stains, the panchayat members accuse the bride of having a physical relationship with a man in the past."

What happens if a new bride doesn't pass the test?
God forbid, if the groom emerges out of the room with a clean bedsheet, the bride's never-ending ordeals begin--from being harassed and even beaten up by the in-laws and husband, to being abandoned by the family altogether, cases have been reported for the worst possible "punishments" one can imagine.

In June 2017, the case of a 20-year-old woman from Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, came to light. This woman-in-question had been deserted by her husband and was forced to remain confined to her room by her father for failing the virginity test. The in-laws even took away all her jewellery, according to a report by The Hindu.

(Source: India Today)

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