Community shuns activist who opposed virginity tests

On Tuesday, when grandmother of Vivek Tamaychikar, a Kanjarbhat who is a member of a group campaigning against the community’s practice of virginity tests for brides died, not a single member from the community, apart from relatives and neighbours, were present for her last rites at Ambernath in Thane.

The Ambernath police have filed an FIR after the family filed a complaint on Wednesday.

On Monday night, when the news of her death was announced, one of the leaders from the community in a gathering had warned members from attending the funeral.

In a video that was passed on to community members, the leader is heard saying, “Usually when someone from our community dies we don’t have such haldi events, but when the family doesn’t respect the rules of our society why should we be present for the funeral”.

More than a year back, Tamaychikar, along with his wife, siblings and cousins, had started a campaign against the practice.

“A leader from our community, who stays nearby, asked my brother to apologise to the panchayat, only then would community members attend,” said Akshay, Vivek’s brother.

Earlier this year, Akshay had filed a complaint with the Thane police alleging that he and his sister-in-law were boycotted at a wedding and he was beaten up by the panchayat members there.

The Kanjarbhat community is classified as a de-notified tribe or vimukta jati.

Under section III of the Maharashtra Protection of People form Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016; obstructing a person from the attending social gathering is prohibited.

A senior officer from Ambernath police said they have registered an FIR under Maharashtra’s Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, and will be further conducting an inquiry.

First Published:
May 16, 2019 05:30 IST

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