Virginity tests of brides at mass wedding in Bhopal

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by I-G, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Virginity tests of brides at mass wedding in Bhopal
    IANS 13 July 2009, 02:36pm IST


    BHOPAL: At a mass wedding in Madhya Pradesh just before the ceremony was to begin, a would-be bride developed labour pains, shocking those present.

    Virginity and pregnancy tests were ordered on the 152 prospective brides, of whom 14 were detected to be pregnant.

    The incident, that left activists and tribals fuming, occurred June 30 when the brides were assembled for a mass marriage function in Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol district, 350 km from here, held under the 'Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna' - Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's pet scheme aimed to help girls from poor families tie the knot at government expense.

    Marriages under the scheme are solemnised free of cost and all arrangements are made by the district administration. Every couple is also provided assistance in the form of household items to the tune of Rs.5,000.

    On that day, a would-be bride developed labour pains minutes before the exchange of garlands. The organisers immediately stopped the mass wedding and ordered pregnancy tests on the 152 brides assembled for the ceremony.

    The tests revealed 14 of them were pregnant.

    "As many as 14 girls were detected to be pregnant during the tests while another girl was found to be a minor," Shahdol district hospital's senior gynaecologist Reena Gautam said.

    Later, 138 couples belonging to different religions tied the knot under the scheme.

    Local legislator Sunder Singh, the district collector and other government officials were also present during the occasion, sources said.

    A local resident alleged that "fake marriages" were being held. He said: "Middlemen produce recently married couples as unmarried, get their marriage solemnised at such functions and then take 'commission' from them."

    Faced with allegations of solemnising 'fake marriages', the local authorities ordered the virginity and pregnancy tests. But the move to weed out already-married brides has kicked up a storm with activists taking up the issue.

    "First I refused to undergo the test but an officer told me that I would be allowed inside the 'mandap' (place where Hindu marriages are solemnised) only after I am found eligible (virgin and not pregnant)," a 20-year-old woman told activists who toured the area after the incident.

    Sachin Jain of the Right to Food campaign working for the cause of tribals in many parts of the state said: "There are better and more discreet ways of doing this. These tests are an insult to womanhood and it shows how the state machinery violates the human rights and dignity and privacy of women."

    "The officials should know that in many tribal communities there is a culture of boys and girls living together before they decide to marry," Jain said.

    "It is yet another instance of insensitive behaviour of the grassroots bureaucracy of the state, which stands third among all states of the country, in violation of tribal rights," Jain added.

    Amita Chapra, member of the State Women Commission, said: "The local Bega tribals were furious. Even if assuming that some are misusing the scheme, it does not mean that others can be subjected to humiliation."

    Chapra said that the commission would take up the matter with the chief minister.

    Shahdol collector Neeraj Debe said: "I have asked my subordinates and district medical authorities to look into reported incidents of virginity and pregnancy tests and action will be taken against those found guilty."

    The state government has allotted Rs.25 crore in the budget for the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana. The government has also increased the scheme's grant amount payable to a girl after marriage from Rs.5,000 to Rs.6,500 from January 2009. As per the state's Economic Survey (2008-09)- 88,460 marriages were solemnised from April 2006 to March 2009.

    Virginity tests of brides at mass wedding in Bhopal - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
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  3. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Pregnancy tests on would-be brides by MP govt sparks row
    Saji Thomas, TNN 13 July 2009, 12:54am IST


    JABALPUR: A popular mass marriage event launched by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan to help girls from poor families has run into

    controversy after the shocking revelation that government officials conducted pregnancy tests on the brides.

    According to the state women’s commission, the tests were conducted on all 152 brides at the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana held in Shahdol district on June 30. After the tests, 13 girls were sent back because ‘‘they were pregnant’’, says the commission, which has asked the DM to conduct a probe into alleged human rights violations.

    ‘‘It’s a violation of human rights and dignity of a woman,’’ Amita Chapra, a member of the commission, told TOI on Sunday. ‘‘I have asked the district collector to submit a detailed report within seven days.’’ The commission has asked the district authorities to explain under what rule such a medical test was conducted on the girls and who ordered the tests. The order from the commission to conduct an inquiry came on Saturday.

    The Kanyadan Yojana has so far seen marriages of nearly 90,000 couples in the state.

    Pregnancy tests on would-be brides by MP govt sparks row - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
  4. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    No ‘virginity tests’: Chauhan

    Special Correspondent

    NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday described as “unsatisfactory” the report of the Madhya Pradesh government on alleged virginity tests conducted on brides during a State-sponsored mass marriage and decided to probe the matter on its own.

    A five-member team of the Commission led by NCW member Yasmin Abrar will visit Shahdol in the State to study the execution of the scheme.

    The team will also have two experts, including a lawyer and a member of the Madhya Pradesh Women’s Commission.

    Taking a suo motu cognisance of the matter, the NCW sought an interim report from the State government after the incident evoked a strong condemnation.

    The issue also figured in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, however, denied such tests were carried out, saying what was carried out on June 26 was just a “procedural medical examination.”

    The Hindu : Front Page : No ‘virginity tests’: Chauhan
     
  5. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    All of this is ridiculous, but it is also the byproduct of paternal governmental policies (even if out of necessity). State governments in many parts of impoverished rural areas resort to organizing group weddings in order to alleviate the financial burden of suicide prone farmers and possibly decrease the incentive for female infanticide/ feticide. Obviously crossing the barrier and delving into the private lives of citizens is a slippery slope.

    What would really help this situation in the near short term is if there were a revivalist movement within Hinduism so as to finally put to rest many of these useless, inhumane and wasteful archaic practices once and for all. In the long term- education, and access to financial capital on fairer terms are needed.
     
  6. ShyAngel

    ShyAngel Founding Member

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    Weird people from their weird world!
    Ufffff
     
  7. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Virginity tests: Shadol district officials in MP booked
    PTI 17 July 2009, 05:53pm IST


    BHOPAL: A woman on Friday registered a complaint against Shahdol district officials for allegedly forcing her to undergo virginity tests so as to be eligible for the mass marriage scheme in Madhya Pradesh last month.

    The complainant from Gortara village said that after she reached the venue of mass marriage in Sohagpur town on June 26, officials there asked her to undergo a medical test.

    Despite her resistance, she claimed that she was forced to undergo the test conducted by a lady doctor.

    The Chief Minister's Kanyadan Yojana has come under severe criticism from several quarters for allegedly forcing brides-in-waiting to undergo virginity tests compulsorily to participate in the mass marriage scheme.

    A complaint has been registered under relevant sections of the IPC and the SC/ST Act against the then Collector Ajit Kumar, CEO Zilla Panchayat T S Shukla and the Deputy Director of Panchayat and Social Welfare Department.

    Earlier, a similar complaint was filed by another woman in the same district.

    Meanwhile, State Women's Commission Chairperson Krishna Kanta Tomar said that no irregularity was found by its team in Shahdol district on the issue.

    She said she has with her the statements denying that such tests being conducted as alleged.

    A team of National Commission of Women has also gone to Shahdol district to probe the issue.

    Virginity tests: Shadol district officials in MP booked - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
  8. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Whats with these mass weddings anyway,and why is the govt organizing these things.If the govt had to indulge,couldn't just a humble register marriage suffice.
     
  9. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Yes here the Government officials have over stepped . If that would be age test , it would be understandable .
     
  10. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    I agree with IG this is totally absured insted of arranging good education for the Tribals they are doing this shit its total idotic
     
  11. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Studies conducted by the government showed that suicides and other sociological problems among the rural agrarian community were heavily influenced by the financial burdens associated with marrying off daughters. The dowry and wedding expenses exacerbated the influence of shady money lenders and then of course there was the problem with female feticide/infanticide. The government couldn't give cash gifts to facilitate marriages, so they came up with a program to conduct mass weddings.
     
  12. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is a measure of desperation. It is very easy to criticize the government (I myself do it quite a bit), but it would be intellectually dishonest to paint it one color and completely disregard their desire to change things. The government also has limitations to what they can do. While it would be great to educate everyone, it just so happens that the importance given to marriage and religious activities (including wasteful superstitions) by many people in rural India is far greater than education. This is a very slow, painful and frustrating process and yes, eventually as people understand the value of education the priorities may change but that is going to take a long time.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, what could really come in handy is if there were a religious and cultural movement to get away from some of these obsessions. That would make the governments job a lot easier.
     
  13. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would still consider this misplaced sentiment or perhaps they are playing to the gallery.What's the need for all this fanfare,its more like the ruling party does this for the photo ops(with the CM or some high minister performing the kanyadaan...for the camera ofcourse)

    If cutting marriage expense is whats this about,have them married at the registrars office with mutual consent,waive off the formal registration fees.
     
  14. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    There is a very heavy cultural emphasis on weddings and the sociological emotive factor far supersedes the legal aspect (most marriages in rural or even semi rural parts of India aren't even registered). And there is no doubt that this also presents politicians with a great exploitative tool to garner votes and photo ops. But the bottom line is that the government's misplaced sentiments merely reflect (by default) those of the target population they're trying to assist.

    Now mind you I'm not in favor of this or anything. Having virtually lived my entire life where I live, the mere idea of governmental involvement in the lives of citizens is unpalatable to me at a sub cellular level. That however doesn't change the fact that the challenges the GoI has to accost are unlike those most other nations face.

    My take on this is that no amount of paternalistic governmental policies (regardless of their benevolent or exploitative intentions) can ever effectively alleviate cultural or societal problems. Unless there's a shift in the social mindset these bizarre situations are likely to persist.
     
  15. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    But off course it's for the cameras and public consumption. Look how benevelont our govt is. Waste of public money. On top of that you disgrace women by subjecting them to such tests.
     
  16. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Energon,

    The point you make is not wrong. However, this is like patching up a bad tyre instead of replacing it.

    The correct solution would be to empower these women ( and their families) through education and jobs, so that this need to marry of a daughter does not arise.

    I agree that a lot of this is cultural (very affleunt families of Punjab are still mired in dowries) but the government's scheme certainly not going to result in true emancipation of women

    As is usual, I see the government taking the easiest way out.
    The virignity test is simply criminal
     
  17. ShyAngel

    ShyAngel Founding Member

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    This is not less then that cheap girl Rakhi Sawant's Swamwar. What a bullshiit things to do on tv. If I were in India, I would shut the tv and disconnect the channel just because there's such a bullshiit garbage shows like that air on indian channel. Imagine what will happen to the immature young girls and little girls mind. Same goes with this case, I just feel so sorry for people who were part of this and also people who are setting up such a program like this. And the girls who were pregnant before marriage....what the hell? Oh well.....this is so weird! They should keep their dirty self behind the doors and it is not right for these government people to disclose such a negative case of such a people. It just gives the bad impression about marriage to innocent young girls in India.
     
  18. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Antimony, I completely agree with you as well; and in the poetic irony that surrounds all things India, both of us are probably right in addition to the exact opposite of each of our views.

    Mass weddings may prevent some suicides and defer others, prevent female feticide but also female empowerment; and this whole thing is undoubtedly akin to putting a band aid on a hemorrhagic wound. The only solace to take from this debacle is that the government is trying to do both- mass weddings and rural empowerment and education (albeit at a fraction of the rate of what it needs to be).

    But I have to take this one last opportunity to come back to the social aspect of things. If India is to work through the behemoth list of challenges, the society has to participate as well and not just leave it all up to the government (especially one with a historical precedence of inefficiency). Other than a public discussion among a few random Sikh religious leaders who brought up the issue of unnecessary overspending on weddings during the height of the financial crisis this topic has for the most part not been brought into the main stream. On the other hand the excesses of the Indian wedding ceremonies as a fashion statement have been pushed on to the forefront of the global media through a wide array of inputs. This has to change.
     
  19. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    No virginity tests conducted on us: MP tribal girls
    PTI 19 July 2009, 02:58pm IST


    SHAHDOL (MP): The two tribal girls, who had filed complaints against three government officials for allegedly conducting virginity tests on them prior to a mass marriage function on June 30 near here, have taken a U-turn, claiming they were forced to lodge complaints with the police.

    Saroj Baiga and Arti Baiga, both 19-year-old and residents of Gortara, in separate affidavits to the district administration on July 17 - the next day of lodging complaints against the three officials -- claimed that they were compelled to put thumb impression on the complaints submitted to the police, official sources said here today.

    In their complaints, both the beneficiaries under the scheme had charged the three officials, including then District Collector Ajit Kumar, of forcibly conducting virginity tests on them before their marriage sponsored by the Madhya Pradesh Government under the Chief Minister's 'Kanyadan Yojana' in Sohagpur town of the district.

    Shahdol Collector Neeraj Dubey, who took charge after the incident, said that he has come to know that both the women have backtracked from their earlier statements.

    The Collector said no virginity test was conducted, but added that a few beneficiaries underwent some abdominal tests.

    No virginity tests conducted on us: MP tribal girls - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
  20. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Minor married off at MP mass wedding
    Saji Thomas, TNN 20 July 2009, 01:58am IST


    JABALPUR: A couple who got married under the chief minister's Kanyadan Yojana, a mass wedding ceremony for girls from poor families in Madhya Pradesh, was picked up by police on Sunday after a complaint that the girl was a minor.

    They were detained by Haryana police after the girl's father, a labourer in Sonepat, said his daughter was only 14 years old. The mass marriage had taken place in the backward district of Panna on July 2.

    A five-member Haryana police team went to the boy's home in Janagpur village in Panna acting on a missing person's complaint. The girl's father said he suspected his daughter might have been lured by the youth after they met in Sonepat where the boy too works.

    The girl's family had moved to Haryana from Uttar Pradesh in search of work. The girl's father claimed that the boy was also a minor.

    Panna additional superintendent of police Rajesh Singh said the couple had been detained by Haryana police, but added he was not aware if they had got married at government-sponsored Kanyadan Yojana.

    Earlier this month, the scheme had been hit by allegations that a pregnancy test had been carried out on brides during a mass marriage event in Shahdol district. The government has denied the allegations.

    Minor married off at MP mass wedding - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
  21. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    SA its better to have the garbage discussed on air rather than swept under the carpet.
     

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