Remember the barbaric ‘bedding’ sequences that followed each Game of Thrones wedding? Or perhaps you’ve seen such antediluvian customs in period dramas like Reign where a council of sanctimonious high priests attended the queen’s ‘suhaag raat’ to ensure she was a virgin.
However, it’s neither queens nor aristocrats of the 1500’s who must bear proof of virginity; but millennial Indian women! Certain communities in the state of Maharashtra follow a custom whereby a newly-wed woman has to prove that she was a virgin before the marriage.
Feels like feminism just jumped back a couple of centuries eh?
Fortunately, the lawmakers are finally doing something about it. Forcing a woman to undergo virginity test will be made a punishable offence, the Maharashtra government said on Wednesday.
Ranjeet Patil, the Minister of State for Home, met a delegation of some social organisations to discuss the issue on Wednesday. Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe was also a part of the delegation.
“Virginity test will be considered a form of sexual assault…after consultations with the Law and Judiciary department, a circular will be issued declaring it a punishable offence,” the minister stated.
The demeaning custom is allegedly followed in the Kanjarbhat community among others. Interestingly, they have been in the news before and infamous for the very same patriarchal customs!
Some people from the community have launched an online campaign against it.
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Minister Ranjeet Patil, meanwhile, also said his department will hold a bi-monthly review of cases of sexual assault, and ensure low pendency of such cases in the courts, reports NDTV.
We hope they follow through so that no bride has to face such crude rites on her big day!