Sunday, June 9, 2013

Virginity tests conducted on over 400 prospective brides in Madhya Pradesh

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PVCHR Communication 
Date: Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM
Subject: Virginity tests conducted on over 400 prospective brides in Madhya Pradesh
To: covdnhrc , jrlawnhrc
Cc: "Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi"

The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi

Dear Sir,
I want to bring in your kind attention towards the news published on June 08 from 2013 Virginity tests conducted on over 400 prospective brides in Madhya Pradesh

Virginity tests conducted on over 400 prospective brides in Madhya Pradesh
A marriage ceremony marriage ceremony being held under Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana in MP.
It seems that controversies will not go away from Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's pet scheme - Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna, aimed to help girls from poor families tie the knot at government expense.

On Friday, officials in Betul district allegedly conducted virginity/pregnancy tests on more than 450 prospective brides, of whom over a dozen were detected to be pregnant.

The district administration has ordered an enquiry into the matter but maintained no direction was given to the officials to conduct virginity/pregnancy tests.

On Friday, Betul district administration organised a mass marriage ceremony under the Mukhyamantri Kanyaadan Yojna in village Hardu, that comes under Chicholi Block.

For the mass marriage ceremony, more than 400 brides in traditional bridal finery - gilded sarees and gold jewellery arrived, while grooms, mostly came in three-piece suit and safari suits.

However, minutes before the exchange of garlands, and after completion of other registration formalities, district officials asked prospective brides to go through virginity/pregnancy tests if they wish to avail benefits of the MKY scheme.

Quickly, under the presence of two district health workers - J Budholiya and Durga Malviya alleged virginity - pregnancy tests were conducted on over 400 prospective brides.

On the grounds of suspicion, we conducted pregnancy tests on the brides, health worker Durga Malviya told newspersons in village Hardu.

The tests revealed nine of them were pregnant, said an official.

After the tests by district officials on the brides was over, chanting of vedic hymns begin and over 380 brides belonging to different caste and communities garlanded and tied the magalsutras, with officials pronouncing them to be husband and wives before the sacred fire.

Local legislator Gita Uike (BJP), who along with scores of government officials present during the occasion said she will take up the matter with the district collector.

She said she wanted to know the rules under which any tests were conducted on women who had come for the mass weddings.

Local legislator Gita Uike (BJP), Vijay Shah former Minister and other government officials were also present during the occasion.

However, the collector said no virginity test was conducted, but added that some couples who tried to drew benefits of the scheme through unfair means were stopped.

"No direction was given to the officials to conduct virginity/pregnancy tests on the women who had come to take part in the weddings under the scheme. However, we have ordered an enquiry into the matter. The enquiry will be conducted by Neha Marwiah, Upper Collector and report will be presented in seven-days," Rajesh Prasad Mishr, Betul collector said.

And on the basis of the report, action will be taken against the guilty, he said.  

This is not for the first time, when the local authorities ordered the virginity and pregnancy tests to weed out already-married brides and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's flagship scheme has landed into trouble.

In 2009, Shahdol district administration has conducted virginity and pregnancy tests on the 152 prospective brides, of whom 14 were detected to be pregnant.

Moreover, reports of fake marriages and middlemen taking commission to produce married couples as unmarried to get their marriage solemnised and drew monetary benefits have often come into news.

The state has received irregularities-related complaints against Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana in over a dozen districts.

This scheme has been launched on the special initiative of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for helping poor families get rid of this worry in April 2006.

Marriages under the scheme are solemnised free of cost and all arrangements are made by the district administration.

Every bride is also provided assistance in the form of household items to the tune off Rs.9,000 and Rs.1,000 for bearing the expenses to attend a mass marriage ceremony, said an official.

The scheme aims to solemnise the marriage of daughters/widows/deserted women belonging to economically weaker sections and disabled category.

Between Apirl 1 2006 till this date, 1,60,977 mass marriages were solomenised under this scheme, the official added.
Therefore it is a kind request please take appropriate action at earliest.

Thanking You

Sincerely Yours

Shruti Nagvanshi 
Managing Trustee


Shirin Shabana Khan
Senior Manager
People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
Sa 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi -221002