Man divorces wife for failing ‘virginity test’, women’s panel seeks probe
Maharashtra Women Commission has sought a probe report from Nashik police over an alleged ‘virginity test’ of a woman in the district, failing which her husband divorced her last month.
The commission chief Vijaya Rahatkar told PTI she has asked Nashik police commissioner to make an in-depth inquiry into the alleged incident and submit a report.
The women’s panel intervened following reports that a husband decided to divorce his wife after she failed the ‘virginity test’.
Last month, the woman from Ahmednagar district, preparing to join police force, married a 25-year-old man from Nashik. This was his second marriage. Both belong to the ‘Kanajarbhat’ community which has two sects ---Dera Sachha and Khandpith. The community has its own ‘constitution’ which is followed rigorously.
Placing a high value on virginity in women, members of the caste panchayat wait outside after the wedding, while the couple has intercourse on a plain white cloth. This is supposedly a ‘test’ to prove that the woman is a virgin.
The husband said that the woman had not bled after intercourse and rejected her as his wife. The marriage was summarily invalidated, despite the girl’s pleas that she was, in fact, a virgin and that her lack of bleeding could be due to the vigorous exercise she went through in preparation for the police force.
The next day, she and her mother tried to file a police complaint. But her father intervened, locked them in the house and took away the girl’s mobile phone.
Krishna Chandgude, activist of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, said he went to the house and spoke to the girl and her parents and tried to convince her father to file a police complaint, but the latter was afraid of the caste panchayat.
Avinash Patil, working president of the samiti said Maharashtra was the first state to pass a law against social boycott and illogical justice meted out by such panchayats - the Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, which is awaiting the President’s nod.
If it is implemented, such rituals will be prohibited, he said.
Shiv Sena leader and MLC Neelam Gorhe termed the episode as “mental and physical cruelty” against the woman.
“Action can be taken against this even under current laws. We need more awareness to ensure such cases do not occur,” she said.
Meanwhile, the husband on Wednesday claimed that the ‘virginity test’ was conducted at the behest of the girl’s family members.
Rahatkar, however, rubbished his claim saying parents of which girl will put their daughter to such an ordeal.
“The girl has said that if her husband comes to take her back, she is ready to live with him,” Rahatkar added.