Virginity test: Maharashtra Minister promises action against Kanjarbhat caste panchayats

first_imgThe Maharashtra government on Wednesday assured the State Legislative Council that caste panchayats of the Kanjarbhat community would face action if they compelled newly married women to undergo a ‘virginity test’Action would also be taken if the panchayat members were found to be interfering in cases of rape and sexual harassment, said Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil.The Minister was responding to a calling attention motion tabled by Shiv Sena’s Neelam Gorhe.‘Hurts women’s dignity’The Kanjarbhat community’s custom, in which newly married women are expected to undergo a test to prove that they were virgin before marriage, hurt women’s dignity, Mr. Gorhe said.She also alleged that these panchayats also tried and settled cases of rape and sexual harassment outside the court.‘File criminal case’“Cases should be registered against them (panchayat members). Conducting a virginity test and announcing its result publicly is a violation of woman’s right to privacy. Her virginity status should not be disclosed to the public,” Mr. Gorhe said.Mr. Patil said police would be asked to register a criminal case if a panchayat forced a woman to undergo a virginity test.Awareness meet“The government will also take action if caste panchayat members are found interfering in cases of rape and sexual harassment,” he added.“We will hold a meeting of caste panchayats and social activists next month to create awareness about the issue,” Mr. Patil said.last_img

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