Kanjarbhat virginity test: Around 200 protest at Pune collectorate against ‘V-ritual’ dissidents
Around 200 women and men of the Kanjarbhat community held a protest march against the statements made by the ‘Stop the V-ritual’ group which has been protesting against the community ritual of virginity tests.
The group of protestors demanded police action and public apology from the group for the statements made by them. A letter stating their demands, signed by the protesting women, was taken to the collector's office after the protest march which started from Vidhan Bhawan.
When asked about their view of the ritual and whether it involves physical assault and public verbal abuse, as claimed by the protestors, Bhawna Minekar, a resident of Bhanagar in Yerawada, said, “They should bring forth at least one woman who has been put through the ritual and has been assaulted. If something of that sort has happened, we will stand by that woman and demand justice. However, the women of the community will tell you that after the first night, regardless of whether the girl is a virgin or not, she is not assaulted. They have spoiled the name of our community in front of everyone.”
"First of all it is not a test, it is custom which has been a part of our culture for a long time and we stand by it,” said a 25-year-old college student who did not want to named. Having studied till Class 12, she is scheduled to be married this year.
"Our teachers ask us if the ritual happens with us and the reports appearing in various media. We have to answer questions by our friends as well. They ask if we have to undergo a test to prove our virginity," said Gautami Bhat, 18, a first year student at Shahu College in Pune.
The men and women at the protest then went on to cast aspersions at Krishna Indrekar, Vivek Tamaichikar and Priyanka Tamaychekar, among others, who have been at the forefront of the protest. "How are members of one family, representative of our entire community?" Minekar said before starting the protest march.
The ‘Stop the V-Ritual’ is a group of youngsters who have been protesting against the community ritual which, according to them, requires women to prove their virginity on their wedding night. The ones who fail are said to be shamed publicly by the panch (elders) of the community. The community members, however, have said that it is a private affair between two families and neither are panch involved nor are the women assaulted.