Pune: Girl allegedly forced to undergo primitive pre-marital purification ritual

Mar 13, 2018, 08:55 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Police issue notice after woman alleges Kanjarbhat community forcing daughter to undergo purification ritual before marriage as latter's father is an outsider

The Kanjarbhat community meet in Kolhapur
The Kanjarbhat community meet in Kolhapur

It seems the V ritual is not the only issue troubling some younger members of the Kanjarbhat community. The mother of a young girl approached the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANiS) recently, fearing she would have to undergo a primitive shuddhikaran — purification process, because she wants to get engaged within the community (her father was an 'outsider'). The process would entail that the girl cover herself in a white cloth, then take 107 steps, while burning dough balls are thrown at her. She would also then be bathed in milk and then in river water.

On March 11, Sangamner city police, in whose jurisdiction the shuddhikaran was to allegedly take place, issued a notice to a 60-year-old panch of the Kanjarbhat community, asking him not to conduct the ritual. If the community members still hold the ritual, they will be arrested under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The panch has denied the allegations.

The issue
Vivek Tamchikar, the youth who raised his voice against the V ritual in the Kanjarbhat community along with Krishna Indrekar, said, "In the Kanjarbhat community, apart from the V Ritual test, those with the Indrekar and Machare surnames cannot tie the knot as they are considered siblings."

The girl and boy who are in love and want to be engaged, each have these surnames. They hail from Ghulenagar in Sangamner near Nashik, where the 18-year-old girl who has given her HSC examination and the 20-year-old boy stay in the same locality. As the boy is not yet 21, they had decided to only get engaged, and marry later.

Advocate Ranjana Gavande, a member of the Andashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANiS), was with Sangamner police when the notice was issued. The mother of the girl had approached ANiS. Gavande said the girl's mother had married outside the community, but after she gave birth, her husband left her. She then used her maternal surname even for her daughter.

"She married a person from the Kanjarbhat community after paying a hefty fine and undergoing the ritual known as paap kutane or shuddhikaran. The panch had told her that her daughter would have to undergo the ritual. It is carried out in an isolated area, especially where funerals are held. We were told it was to take place on the intervening night of March 11 and 12. The young couple have police protection, but they say their parents might have to perform the ritual if they refuse to do it," said Gavande.

Police's watchful eye
Assistant police inspector Gopal Umbarkar visited the spot on March 10 and did not find any preparation for the ritual. On March 11 police then issued the notice. Senior inspector Gokul Autade of Sangamner police station said, "We have given protection to the couple and they will soon be engaged. We are probing the case."

Also read: Kanjarbhat youths, leaders invite trouble over virginity testing ritual

The primitive ritual
The process entails that the girl cover herself in a white cloth, then take 107 steps, while burning dough balls are thrown at her. She will then be bathed in milk and then in river water.

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