Kanjarbhat youths, leaders invite trouble over virginity testing ritual
Group protesting virginity testing ritual alleges it was not invited for annual meet while community president claims the group was called for it
The Kanjarbhat community meet in Kolhapur ends today
Are youngsters from the Kanjarbhat community, protesting a humiliating virginity testing ritual, being banned from the community? While they allege they're being barred, the community leader claims they're creating a mountain out of a molehill. On Tuesday, while around 25,000 people from the Kanjarbhat community had assembled in Kolhapur for an annual meet, a mob of around 200 people, along with youths from the Kanjarbhat community marched till the Pune Zilla Parishad, demanding that virginity-testing practices be stopped.
Vivek Tamaichekar, a Kanjarbhat youngster said they've not been invited to be a part of the annual Kanjarbhat congress, which began yesterday. "Neither us nor our families have been invited. And now, while they refuse to give it to us in writing, they have said they are banning us from the community. They have formed a 25-member panchayat and are filing defamation, molestation and dacoity cases against us. But we are ready for it as we know what we have done is as per the law. We believe in the judiciary system."
Meanwhile, the community's two-day annual meet, called Akhil Bharat Sahasamal Bhatu (Kanjarbhat) Samaj Parishad will end today at Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur. The virginity testing ritual issue and other rituals that need to be practiced and adapted by the panch members form a part of the discussions that will take place. Refuting allegations, Manoj Machare, president of the Maharashtra Kanjarbhat Samaj said, "Information about banning them [the protesting youngsters] is wrong. We had invited them to discuss this issue, but they preferred to backstab us by organising a protest in Pune. These boys are creating a mountain out of a molehill. We have other important issues to discuss, and have nothing to do with this [virginity testing ritual] as we never force anyone to practice it. It's the family's choice. These people are maligning the image of our community."