A woman from Pune was allegedly boycotted by the Kanjarbhat community, and not allowed to take part in the annual dandiya celebrations on Monday, 15 October, because she refused to take a “virginity test” before her marriage.
The woman, Aishwarya Tamaichikar, told ANI that following the incident, she filed a complaint at the Pimpri police station, against eight people with the help of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS). The DCP of the police station told ANI that an FIR had been registered and an investigation would be launched into the case.
Narrating the incident to ANI, Tamaichikar said:
“(I) filed a police complaint in Pimpri-Chinchawad, after members of my community didn’t allow me to participate in Navratri dandiya. I was told that I had brought a bad name to Kanjarbhat community for opposing the virginity test which is common in our community.”
Within the Kanjarbat community, it is a “traditional practice” for women to undergo a “virginity test” before marriage.
According to Tamaichikar, the event had begun on the usual note, but organisers turned the music off once they noticed her presence, DNA reported.
Not to be pushed back, Tamaichikar refused to leave, after which, the organisers said that the event had been cancelled. “They said that only boys would be part of the festivities. I then relented and went home. As soon as I left, the celebrations started again,” she told DNA.
Tamaichikar had married her husband, Vivek, earlier in May in the presence of police officials, as by then, the community was already livid about the fact that she had refused to take the test. Vivek had stood by her and supported the decision, DNA reported.
“We protested against the ritual of virginity test which is still prevalent in Kanjarbhat community. Due to this, my wife was boycotted from taking part in cultural programmes hosted by the community. This is unconstitutional.”Vivek Tamaichikar to ANI
What is the “Virginity Test”?
Here’s how the Kanjarbhat community conducts its “traditional” wedding test.
The newly weds are escorted to a room by their family and members of the caste panchayat. After removing any sharp object like jewellery and hair pins, the couple is handed a white bed sheet.
The humiliation doesn’t end there.
The day after the wedding, the entire caste panchayat gathers with other members of the village and ask the groom, if the girl was a virgin. If the girl is a virgin, the boy says, “maal khara (good product)” three times. If the bride is not a virgin, she is asked who she lost her virginity to and both are penalised.