Probed, declared pregnant, tribal women now ostracized #Vaw #WTFnews

TNN | Jun 12, 2013,

JABALPUR: A tribal panchayat has excommunicated families of nine girls from Madhya Pradesh‘s Betul district, who were found pregnant at a mass marriage event under mukhya mantri kanyadaan yojna.

The girl’s were sent away from the event after undergoing pregnancy tests on June 7. The panchayat, which is the supreme body of Korku and Gonds tribes that form 90% of the population in the region, issued the orders against the families for “bringing ignominy to the community”.

The families have been left to fend for themselves. Even local BJA MLA Geeta Ramjilal, a tribal, has refused to intervene. “In any case, once the tribesmen decide to take a particular course of action, nothing can be done by anyone. Their word is law after all,” she told TOI on Tuesday. She is careful not to upset her party’s tribal vote bank.

Sarju Markam, a panchayat member, said the order can be rescinded if the families invite the villagers for a community meal and host a “jaatmilona”, a function to restore social ties.

“The girls brought dishonour and there was a public spectacle. So penance has to be observed,” he said.

One of the girl’s fiancee said feeding a population of 1,200 is something much beyond her folks.

He said he would stand by her and “marry her the day the crisis gets over”. But he fears the wait could be too long.

As landless labourers, the family collectively earns Rs 1,000 per month and the arrival of monsoon further cuts down earning prospects. Raising the amount for the lunch at a short notice would be impossible. This could mean an uncertain future for him, his prospective bride and the child as well.

The girl, in her 20s, quietly sits at home. She has been forbidden for moving out and has been trying to ignore jeers and barbs aimed at her. Her fiance has been helping the family to find a moneylender to fund the feast.



#India – 350 Tribal women forced to undergo virginity and pregnancy tests before mass marriage #WTFnews #VAW

Pheroze L. Vincent,, The Hindu

Mass marriage under way at Hardoo village in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. Photo: Special Arrangement
Mass marriage under way at Hardoo village in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. Photo: Special Arrangement

10 girls were found pregnant and household items they got under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana seized

Around 350 women from Gond and Korku tribes in Betul district’s Hardoo village, which is about 200 km south of here, were illegally subject to pregnancy tests before they participated in a mass marriage ceremony under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana. This State-funded wedding ceremony of more than 400 couples was attended by local MLA Geeta Uikey of the BJP and the former minister, Vijay Shah.

Anyone who has attained the legal age for marriage can avail of this government scheme, which is aimed at reducing wedding expenses and controlling indebtedness. Couples are given household items like mattresses, gas stoves and mangalsutras for Rs. 9000.

Before the function at Hardoo, two health department employees, Jayashree Budhauliya and Durga Malviya, asked the brides to line up at a primary school building in the vicinity for a medical check-up.

“We found 10 girls pregnant. They were more than four months pregnant. We reported them to the panchayat medical officer,” said Ms. Malviya. District officials seized the household items given to the girls and they were sent away.

Betul-based activist Anurag Modi of the Shramik Adivasi Sanghatan told The Hindu that it was common practice among adivasis to cohabit before a formal wedding ceremony. “The government had no business to check if they are pregnant. This reflects the general mindset which does not treat adivasis as humans,” said Modi.

Ms. Uikey also condemned the incident which, she said, came to her notice only after the function. “This is an insult of women and adivasis. These officials want to destroy the traditions of adivasis. I demand that action be taken against them.”

To curb malpractice

After the incident panchayat officials confided to journalists that this practice of conducting pregnancy tests had been in practice for almost three years, ostensibly to check misuse of the scheme. Pradesh Congress Committee President Kantilal Bhuria, addressing a rally in Jhabua, also condemned the incident and threatened to go the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes if errant officials were not taken to task.

Collector R.P. Mishra told this paper that he had ordered an enquiry under Assistant Collector Neha Marvya. “I have been here for two months. This practice came as a surprise. There is no rule that calls for such tests. I have asked for a report within a week. This will also cover such incidents that may have happened earlier. Action will be taken on any official who may have violated the law,” he said.

#India- ‘Ghost Fair’ is held in MP to treat patients #WTFnews #Vaw

Superstition or faith? ‘  |  Mar 03, 2013,
Pics: Superstition or faith? 'Ghost Fair' is held in MP to treat patients

Malajpur: A woman clad in sari with her hair wild, scrambles on a heap of mud with pebbles strewn all around, as if trying to run away from some invisible and mysterious power. She dons a terrifying look on her face as she sinks to her knees, sobbing loudly.

These ‘devotees’ have arrived at Malajpur; a village in Madhya Pradesh‘s Betul district, 350 km from state capital Bhopal, for being exorcised at a shrine of Guru Maharaj Deoji, a Hindu holy man who is believed to have lived in the 18th century.  ‘Devotees’ believe that he had the power to exorcise evil spirits.

How did this start:

People believe that since the beginning of 18th century this month-long fair is being held annually  at Malajpur during the ongoing Magh month.

The people who bring their relatives here believe that their bodies have been “taken over by the ghosts of the dead” and that exorcism is the only release for them.



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