Nine tribal women, who were to participate in a mass wedding in Madhya Pradesh’s Hardu village on Friday, were allegedly forced to take pregnancy tests and turned away after they tested positive.
These women were among the 385 couples — mostly tribals — who had registered for the mass wedding under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna.
Beneficiaries of this scheme are entitled to Rs. 13,000 worth ‘wedding gifts’ including a mangalsutra, a cycle, some utensils and clothes.
The state-run scheme can be availed only by those who have never married. The rules, however, are silent when it comes to pregnant but unmarried women.
These nine cases came to light when health department employees were conducting their routine inquiries. Four of the women confessed they were pregnant, while the other five were forced to take pregnancy tests, admitted a health department worker.
Janpad Panchayat CEO BK Singh, however, denied this. “No applicant was subjected to such a test. It is not possible to conduct these when there is such a large number of applicants. Where was the space to conduct these tests?”