A woman in Pune claims that a Garbha event was stopped on her arrival after she refused to comply with an age-old virginity test that members of her community are put through after their wedding.
The tradition dictates that if there is no proof of virginity on the bedsheet, the marriage is considered invalid.
After 23-year-old Aishwarya Tamaichikar, many young members of the Kanjarbhat community have also objected to the tradition which was immediately shut down by the older members. They allegedly prevented the protesters from participating in events.
Aishwarya and her husband Vivek had refused to show their bedsheet to members of the panchayat after their wedding in December 2017. After this, they were boycotted from many events including another wedding where they alleged that they were assaulted, according to a The Times of India report.
Recently, Tamaichikar had attended a Garbha festival when the music was suddenly stopped. She told TOI, "I went to Pimpri on Monday evening to take part in the dandiya event organized by the local mandal, which is controlled by the jat panchayat. Barely a few minutes after I had started playing dandiya, the music was stopped. My mother came rushing to me and asked to leave the venue."
"Even as I stayed back in the pandal, the music did not start. Then an elderly man made an announcement that dandiya will resume only after some members left the pandal. Around 400 people were present in the pandal, but none came forward to support me," she added.
Tamaichikar also claimed that the music began after she left the pandal. She hopes that as more people get educated, they will understand her and join her cause.
Tamaichikar has approached the police and filed a complaint against eight members of the panchayat who are involved with checking the virginity of the bride after the wedding.
Tamaichikar is not the only person to protest against this tradition. Two years ago, another woman had started a campaign, "Stop the V test". However, it did not gain momentum.
"She had complained that because she had opposed virginity test prevalent in Kanjarbhat community she was not allowed to take part in Dandiya celebrations. An FIR has been registered, an investigation will be conducted into the incident," the DCP of Pimir-Chinchwad told ANI.