Around 100 of people belonging to the Kanjarbhat community, mostly women and men both took a march against the topic “Ban Virginity Test”, on last Monday in front of the district collector’s office, Pune and in some other parts of Maharashtra reportedly.
The Kanjarbhat community people submitted a memorandum seeking action against the group which been campaigning in opposition to the practice of “virginity tests” of brides within the hamlet.
The memorandum, handed over to the Resident District Collector, Rajendra Muthe, by an all-woman delegation stated about the tradition of “virginity tests” in the commune is a way to make sure that the “character, values in the family is protected”.
This one is touted by every woman in the Kanjarbhat community as a massive honored and part of the “great tradition” regarded this as the “Lakshaman Rekha”.
The Kanjarbhat community is a nomadic tribe settled in Maharashtra.
The march and the memorandum arrive within 2 days of a fresh happening of a probably motivated attack on the group of youths which is campaigning against the “virginity tests”.
On the last Saturday, three motorbikes belonging to members of a WhatsApp group named “Stop The V-Ritual” that is running the campaign, were also seen have been damaged. Members of the group get limelight which is because of the attack earlier also.
The Kanjarbhat community took out the march on Monday and they blamed the group for filing false police complaints, creating obstacles in customary and traditional rituals followed by the community, offend women of the Kanjarbhat community, the women as per reports, also said that these all campaigned against Kanjarbhat community age-old ritual is just baseless and they consider it as an allegation which is against the caste panchayat also.
“Girls in the Kanjarbhat community are given proper education, freedom. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao movement has been going on in the community for the last 500 years. But the government officer, Krushna Indrekar from Mumbai, Vivek Tamaichikar, Priyanka Tamaichikar of Pimpri, Siddhant Indrekar of Yerwada, Surabh Machhale of Wadgaonsheri (all members of WhatsApp group) are defaming the women in the community by making baseless allegations… Nobody is socially boycotted by the community. But the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti is consistently making statements that caste panchayat members should be booked under the law against the social boycott,” the memorandum said.
This is the second time that the community has blamed publicly against the campaigners. On the International Women’s Day of the March, some women from the Kanjarbhat community had spoken against the campaigners, said that the “virginity test” was a matter between the family members of the bride and groom, and also they said no one ever became victimized for this ritual.
They also alleged that the campaigners had “conspired” to defame the community “for financial gains”.
Ganesh Machhare, one of the members of the march, stated that the resident district collector had listened to their demands and also makes sure that he would look into the matter seriously.
He said that the official had also undertaken to take the issue with the Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla.
A senior citizen from the community, Hasan Malke, said the campaigners were focusing on irrelevant issues. “These anti-social elements (members of the WhatsApp group), including a senior government officer, have done nothing for educating our girls or providing jobs to our youths. They are ignoring the real problems that are being faced by our community and focus on wrong issues,” Malke said.
“Stop The V-Ritual” group was formed by Vivek Tamaichikar, a Masters student at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Tamaichikar and his colleagues said that newly-married women in the Kanjarbhat community have to give testimony of their virginity on their wedding night.
What is Kanjarbhat community – Virginity Test
The newly married couple is asked to spend their first night in a hotel room and is given a white sheet which they need to apply on the bed, they claimed. The couple has to show blood stains on the sheet the next morning, to their family members as per the community customs and if in the bed sheet there will be no blood stain then the bride will be subject of the punishment reportedly.
The group’s campaign has received strong support from the educated group within and outside the community. But it has also led to some clashes within Kanjarbhat community members and this campaigned is not well received by the Kanjarbhat community members.
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