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MP virginity tests issue: Girls backtrack

Source: PTI
July 19, 2009 18:56 IST
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The two tribal girls, who had filed complaints against three government officials for allegedly conducting virginity tests on them prior to a mass marriage function on June 30 near Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, have made a U-turn, claiming they were forced to lodge complaints with the police.

Saroj Baiga and Arti Baiga, both 19-year-old and residents of Gortara, in separate affidavits to the district administration on July 17 -- the next day of lodging complaints against the three officials -- claimed that they were compelled to put thumb impression on the complaints submitted to the police, official sources said in Shahdol on Sunday.

In their complaints, both the beneficiaries under the scheme had charged the three officials, including then District Collector Ajit Kumar, of forcibly conducting virginity tests on them before their marriage sponsored by the Madhya Pradesh Government under the Chief Minister's 'Kanyadan Yojana' in Sohagpur town of the district.

Shahdol Collector Neeraj Dubey, who took charge after the incident, told PTI that he has come to know that both the women have backtracked from their earlier statements.

The Collector said no virginity test was conducted.

Saroj Baiga along with former BJP MLA Lallu Singh, Shahdol Municipality Chairman Satyabhama Gupta and its Vice-President Praveen Sharma told media persons on Saturday that no virginity test was conducted on her.

She said that she had no knowledge what was written in the complaint filed in the SC/ST Police Station against these officials.

"I have merely put thumb impression on the first affidavit on the direction of Gortara Village Panchayat Secretary Hemraj, who had come to me with some papers," Saroj replied to a query.

When asked what is written in the latest affidavit, Saroj said she has no knowledge in this regard also as she had put her thumb impression only on it as well.

However, Singh and Gupta described the incident as a conspiracy hatched by a prominent Congress leader of Goratra, adding that innocent tribal girls were just made a tool in it.

They said that no virginity tests were conducted on the waiting-in-brides under "Kanyadaan" scheme and it was only a rumour.

Saroj and Arti had filed complaints under various Sections of the SC/ST Act in the SC/ST Police Station against the then Collector, Ajit Kumar, CEO of Sohagpur Janpad Panchayat Santosh Patel and Deputy Director of Panchayat and Social Welfare Department T S Shukla on the issue.

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