MP again: At mass wedding, 'virginity, pregnancy tests'

FPAbout 400 couples got married in Betul on Friday. Express

Would-be brides were reportedly made to undergo virginity and pregnancy tests at a mass wedding, conducted by the state government under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yojana, in Betul district on Friday.

At least eight women were reportedly not allowed to participate in the mass wedding after they were found to be pregnant.

About 400 couples, mostly tribals, were married in Hardu village of Chicholi block, about 225 kms from the state capital, at the function. Most of the women were reportedly subjected to the tests after local officials claimed to have noticed that some were visibly pregnant.

Collector Rajesh Mishra said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident. He confirmed that a few women were found to be pregnant, but the rules did not prescribe such tests. Assistant Collector Neha Malviya has been asked to submit a report within the next few days.

Anurag Modi of the Shramik Adivasi Sangathan alleged that the tribal women not only underwent pregnancy tests but also suffered the humiliation of virginity tests.

A similar incident occurred about four years ago, after which the state government tightened the procedure, making officials at the panchayat and block levels screen applicants for the mass weddings.

Seeking Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's apology to the tribal community, Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh said the officials conducted the tests at the venue, a government school, not even taking the women to a hospital.

The Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yojana is a popular scheme under which thousands of couples have been married in the last few years. Each couple gets gifts worth Rs 15,000.

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