mid-day editorial: Isn't it time we did away with virginity tests?

Published: 25 January, 2018 06:09 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

It is shameful that even in this day and age, young brides and their families are being humiliated and extorted with 'virginity tests'

It is shameful that even in this day and age, young brides and their families are being humiliated and extorted with 'virginity tests'. Equally shocking is the viciousness with which certain communities defend this archaic custom. One community in Pune even bashed up a group of youngsters who were filming a virginity ritual as a form of protest.

One should be aghast that such a practice is still followed in 2018. The community even has an unsavoury name for this ritual, called 'maal khara ya khota' (real goods or fake). There needs to be quick, non-negotiable action against this. The authorities must arrest those responsible for the reprehensible practice.

While it is hard to believe that such a ritual is still in existence, it is also an indicator of other exploitative and outlawed practices that exist. We must take a hard look at these communities with customs that seem to be a law unto themselves. The community chiefs are the ones that strike fear into ordinary people, practice discrimination with impunity and punish people with crippling fines, social ostracism, sanction crippling fines, assaults and beatings against persons who seem to go against them. All this is done under the guise of protecting the culture of that.

The community leaders sanctioning these and other regressive, criminal and unlawful practices, need to be dealt with a heavy hand. These are 'parallel' government systems and they cannot be allowed to supersede our laws. We hope equal rights activists support the young do-gooders who were victimised, as well as the young brides who are punished for failing a ludicrous virginity test.

Let us not waste any time. Name and shame the practitioners and supporters of the 'V' ritual. Help the courageous young men and women who are fighting against it, and show them they are not alone.

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