Subjecting girls to alleged virginity tests during a state-sponsored mass marriage in Madhya Pradesh last month evoked a strong condemnation from non-BJP parties on Monday even as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan denied such tests were carried out.
The tests which tribal girls had to allegedly undergo to be eligible for a special scheme also had its echo in the Rajya Sabha where the Congress and the BJP clashed. Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal described such tests as shameful, an insult to women and a throwback to the 18th century.
Chouhan said the tests carried out on June 26 when 151 girls were to be married under the ‘Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana´ in Shadol, 600 km east of Bhopal, were not a “virginity test” and just a “procedural medical examination”.
“It was not a virginity test. The lady doctor asked only a few questions from the girls,” Chouhan said in Bhopal.
The chief minister was backed by Shahdol Collector Neeraj Dubey who stressed, “It is absolutely wrong to say that virginity tests were conducted on the women who were married under the scheme.”
The Collector however admitted that some clinical tests were conducted on the beneficiaries of the scheme to find out whether the brides were pregnant or not.
Congress MP Santosh Bagrodia described the incident as “demeaning” and an “injustice to women” while CPM leader Brinda Karat said it was an attack on the dignity and self esteem of those girls getting married under the scheme.
National Commission for Women(NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas said it has taken a suo motu cognizance of the matter and sought an interim report from the MP government. A Committee has also been formed to look into the reports, she said in New Delhi.