Maharashtra to outlaw virginity tests of brides

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday said that forcing women to take virginity tests will soon be made illegal and considered a form of sexual assault.

A custom is followed by certain communities whereby a newly-wed woman has to prove that she was a virgin before her marriage.

“Virginity test will be considered a form of sexual assault after consultations with the Law and Judiciary department, a circular will be issued declaring it a punishable offence,” said Ranjeet Patil, the Minister of State for Home.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on twitter said: “Those forcing virginity tests for women will be booked for sexual assault!” I’m extremely proud of my senior colleague @neelamgorhe ji and the other activists for taking this up. This isn’t only an issue for/ of women, it is about the society at large. More power to her.”

NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma expressed serious concerns over a media report that said virginity tests of brides were being forcefully conducted among the Kanjarbhats.

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Ms Sharma said in her letter to Maharashtra’s women and child welfare minister Pankaja Gopinath Munde said “The practice is regressive, misogynistic and in violation of basic human rights and dignity. I, therefore, urge your kind intervention in the matter and request that you may please ensure that the persons guilty of perpetrating such discriminatory, misogynistic practices may be appropriately punished so as to prevent such occurrences in the future.”

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